×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

E.U. Agrees to Cross-Border Access to Streaming Services

So-called ‘portability’ rules the first piece in the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy, and the least contentious

BERLIN – Putting in place the first piece of its hoped-for unified digital market, the European Union agreed Tuesday on new rules allowing subscribers of online services in one E.U. country access to them while traveling in another.

The new “portability” ruling is the first step of regulation under a drive by the European Commission to introduce a single digital market in Europe. Announced in May 2015 on the cusp of the Cannes Film Festival, the proposed Digital Single Market was met with full-throated opposition from Europe’s movie and TV l industry, which viewed it as a threat to its territory-by-territory licensing of movies and TV shows. They were especially concerned by the DSM’s support for cross-border access, whereby people in the E.U. would be free to buy content situated on other countries’ digital platforms.

Hollywood studios, represented by the Motion Picture Assn. of America, share the European industry’s concerns about DSM.

That said, “portability” is the least contentious of DSM regulations being advanced by the European Commission. Reached yesterday, the agreement between the Commission, the E.U.’s executive arm, the European Parliament and the E.U.’s Council of Ministers, representing its 28 member states, will allow consumers to fully use their online subscriptions to films, sports events, e-books, video games or music services when traveling within the E.U.

The online service providers who will be mandated to make these services available range from video-on-demand platforms (Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Mubi, Chili TV) to online TV services (Viasat’s Viaplay, Sky’s Now TV, Voyo), music streaming services (Spotify, Deezer, Google Music) and game online marketplaces (Steam, Origin).

In practical terms, this means, in an example cited by the Commission, that if a French consumer subscribes to Canal Plus’ film and series online services, the user will be able to access films and series available in France when on holiday in Croatia or a business trip in Denmark.

The online service providers will have nine months to adapt to the new rules, which means will come into force by the beginning of 2018.
Portability can be seen as a political victory for Andrus Ansip the European Commission vice-president in charge of the Digital Single Market who launched the Commission’s plans for a Digital Single Market.

“This is a new important step in breaking down barriers in the Digital Single Market,” Ansip said in a statement.

He added; ”Agreements are now needed on our other proposals to modernise E.U. copyright rules and ensure a wider access to creative content across borders. I count on the European Parliament and Member States to make it happen.”

That looks like a reference to the overhaul of copyright announced mid-September which, at least in the European Commission proposal, would see the “country of origin” principle currently in place for cable and satellite programming extended to broadcasters’ online services. In other words, if a broadcaster is licensed to serve one jurisdiction in the E.U. with an online service, they would be authorized to serve that online service to all E.U. member states.

Europe’s industries, supported by the MPAA, see this as a far more serious threat to the territory-by-territory licensing of their movies and TV shows which is the backbone of their business in Europe.

They are already fighting tooth and nail to ensure that safeguards to territorial licensing are included in any future new copyright regulation. The likely subject of speeches and round-table debate, this battle over new “country of origin” rules is indeed likely to form one of the major narratives of this year’s Berlin Film Festival, which  kicks off Thursday in the German capital.

More Digital

  • FilMart: Viu Uploads 'No Sleep, No

    FilMart: Viu Uploads 'No Sleep, No FOMO' Reality Show for Millennials

    “No Sleep No FOMO” is an eight-episode pan-regional travelog show that Asian streaming firm Viu hopes will help it win over more millennial generation audiences. It harnesses the potential of local social media celebrities and their 12 million followers. The show features “Running Man” star Kim Jong-kook, Korean musician Eric Nam and Singapore actor Paul [...]

  • ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending for the Fourth Week in a Row

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the fourth week in row with “Wonder Park.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.18 million through Sunday for 1,718 national [...]

  • Chinese Tech Firm Huawei Seeks Content

    Beleaguered Chinese Tech Firm Huawei Seeks Content for Expansion Into Southeast Asia

    One of the most surprising first-time attendees at FilMart is Chinese tech giant Huawei, which has come to Hong Kong to acquire the video content it needs to support its strategy of expansion into Southeast Asia. The company is currently embroiled in a PR nightmare as it defends itself against accusations that its equipment could [...]

  • Canadian Animation Shop Guru Studio Makes

    Canadian Animation Shop Guru Studio Makes Moves in China

    Guru Studio, an award-winning Toronto-based studio, is keen to get a slice of China’s animation market, which has been growing quickly. “China has the single biggest TV audience in the world and is the second big economy. It’s a natural move for us to build a brand in China,” said Louise Jones, Guru VP of [...]

  • Netflix's Newest Interactive Animated Kids Show

    Netflix Announces New Interactive Animated Kids Show 'Battle Kitty'

    Netflix is doubling down on interactive content for kids. The streaming service announced a new interactive animated show on Tuesday dubbed “Battle Kitty” from Matt Layzell. The company didn’t share a premiere date for the show yet. “Netflix has given me the incredible opportunity to help change how young people see themselves,” said Layzell. “Like [...]

  • stream march madness 2019 online free

    NCAA Tournament: How to Stream March Madness Online

    The rankings are in, and the 68-team field is set. March Madness is officially upon us, and if you want to catch the action from home, from the office, or on-the-go, there are a couple ways to stream March Madness online for free. The first game kicks off today, and the tournament runs until April [...]

  • Google Stream Detailed, Named Stadia

    Google's Stadia Aims to Turn Any Screen Into a Powerful Gaming Console

    Stadia is Google’s game streaming service that is designed to let you play high-end games on most modern screens — be they phone, laptop, tablet, computer or TV — with very little download time and no loss of fidelity, the company announced Tuesday at the Game Developers Conference. The service is launching in 2019. Cost [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content