Government

EU citizens can now steam subscription services anywhere in EU

The European Union will now allow citizens of the EU to stream online subscription services such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer in any country in the EU. Collectively, EU citizens spend about one billion nights in other EU nations every year but are faced with the frustration of not being able to stream their subscription services outside their home country.

The European Union’s executive arm, the European Commission, proposed the change and reached a compromise with negotiators from the European Parliament and the European Council of 28 member states, who collectively agreed that the measure should go forward and succeed. EU citizens will be able to enjoy the new measure in early 2018, the commission said.

“Today’s agreement will bring concrete benefits to Europeans,” said Andrus Ansip, the European Commission’s vice president for the Digital Single Market. “People who have subscribed to their favorite series, music and sports events at home will be able to enjoy them when they travel in Europe.”

As it currently stands, subscribers to Netflix or Amazon streaming services in, for example, Germany, will only have access to the service if the country they are visiting has the service available, and often the movies or series available differ drastically from their home version. The same goes for digital subscribers to Sky Sports in London who are unable to access Premier League football matches on their iPads or laptops when traveling abroad.

“This is very good news for EU consumers,” said Monique Goyens, head of Brussels-based the European Consumer Organization. “Artificial barriers blocking you from using your online video, music or game subscription contradict the very principle of a single market.”

The measure puts a zero limit on the amount of time travelling Europeans can enjoy their home-based subscriptions. This is unlike the EU's free roaming promise for mobile phones that comes into effect in June, which comes with a list of restrictions.