Geo-blocking of Online Content to be Banned Inside EU

Starting from 2018 streaming providers such as Netflix, Viaplay, Sky, and Spotify will no longer be allowed to use “geo-blocking” to prevent access to EU subscribers that are travelling within the EU.

All providers of online content will no longer be allowed to use geo-blocking starting in 2018, and this will be enforced by the EU member states, the European Parliament and the EU Commission.

The EU’s next step will be to open up the digital market, allowing a person residing in one EU country to subscribe to any service available in any other EU country. Whilst this is seen as a step forward for EU residents, it is facing resistance from the TV and movie industry which has always been able to separately sell rights to its content in each country of the EU.

The EU Commission made it clear that all providers who offer paid online content services will have to follow the new rules. Also, services that do not charge fees, will have the possibility to decide to also provide portability to their subscribers.

The new rules apply across industries such as video, music, sports, games, ebooks, and other types of online digital media.

Starting in January 2018, these new EU rules will apply in all EU Member States. Accordingly, content providers will need to put in place the required mechanisms to stop geo-blocking by that date.

Analyst Comment

I must say that it really annoys me that, unless I resort to VPNs etc, I am unable to watch the content that I have paid for on my Sky service at home when I’m travelling. It’s almost as annoying as the non-availability of books on Kindle because my account is registered in the UK (although I haven’t seen that for some time – not sure if Amazon has changed, or just that I haven’t bought affected books) (BR)