Starting next year, you will be able to access your online subscriptions such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Sky’s Now TV when you are abroad.
A new European Commission regulation “will enable consumers to access their online content services when they travel in the EU the same way they access them at home.”
For example, a consumer living in France who has subscribed to MYTF1 but is spending a weekend in Germany can now watch his favourite series and news there as well.
Currently, online media services are often “geoblocked”, which means users cannot access TV programmes, films and music files as soon as they cross a European border.
The text must still be formally confirmed by the Council of the European Union and European Parliament. Content providers and right holders will then have a 9-month period to prepare for the new rules.
Which online services are concerned?
According to the agreement, “these can be video-on-demand platforms (Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Mubi, Chili TV), online TV services (Viasat's Viaplay, Sky's Now TV, Voyo), music streaming services (Spotify, Deezer, Google Music) or game online marketplaces (Steam, Origin). The main feature of these services is to provide access to content protected by copyright and related rights as well as audiovisual media services.”
The online service provider has to offer the same content, on the same range and number of devices and the same range of functionalities as offered in the Member State of residence. They will verify the subscriber’s country of residence by using for example the payment details, the internet contract or the IP address.
Choice for public TV broadcasters
“All providers who offer paid online content services will have to follow the new rules. The services provided without payment (such as the online services of public TV or radio broadcasters) will have the possibility to decide to also provide portability to their subscribers,” stated the commission document, which was released on 7 February.
This means that popular public TV stations can still choose whether, or not, to offer the same service as online service providers.
The new EU rules are expected to come into force in early 2018.