Press release

UK leadership unlocks pay TV for holidaymakers inside EU

New European Commission proposals mean that UK consumers will be able to access digital subscriptions when travelling in other EU countries.

For the first time, UK consumers will be able to access digital subscriptions such as Netflix when travelling in other EU countries, thanks to new European Commission proposals championed by the government.

Today’s Digital Single Market (DSM) proposals on portability follow repeated calls from the Prime Minister and other UK ministers for the EU to deliver a clear set of digital rights for consumers across member states.

As well as allowing them to watch films or sport on subscription services while on holiday, UK consumers will have a clearer set of rules when they buy digital content such as games or music from elsewhere in the EU.

This change also reinforces one of the key priorities for the government’s EU reform agenda: reducing red-tape and boosting competitiveness in a way that works for businesses and consumers across the EU.

The Prime Minister David Cameron said:

The UK has been pushing for a digital single market that delivers for consumers across the EU. People who have paid for movies or sport subscriptions at home want to be able to use them across Europe.

These proposals deliver just that, and show how UK leadership can secure a flexible single market that works for EU consumers and businesses.

I look forward to swift agreement on these proposals.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

We have been calling for people to be able to use their online media services like Netflix and Amazon Prime anywhere they travel to in the EU. These proposals should create a simple way to do just that, without placing burdensome costs on businesses.

The UK has been at the forefront of sketching out what a digital single market should look like, and we have driven forward these common sense measures that will deliver benefits for an increasingly mobile, tech-savvy public.

We will be working hard to ensure consumers benefit as soon as possible.

The Commission proposals include copyright changes that will make it easier for subscription services to be used in other EU countries. This is currently difficult to do because of territorial copyright agreements which govern where services can be accessed.

Although they are targeted at subscription services, public broadcasters such as the BBC who want to introduce portable services will also be able to do so.

Notes to editors

  1. The Commission’s strategy in full.

  2. The proposals for a regulation on ensuring the cross-border portability of online content services will now be finalised through the EU’s legislative procedure, in which legislative proposals are discussed between the Commission, member states and the European Parliament. The UK will take an active part in these negotiations. The aim is for the portability regulation to come into force in 2017.

  3. The Communication ‘Towards a modern, more European copyright framework’ is a document setting out the Commission’s proposed approach on other aspects of copyright reform. The document includes a discussion of reforms to improve the availability of creative content between member states, reforms to certain copyright exceptions, measures to ensure a well-functioning market for copyright, and ensuring an effective and balanced IP enforcement system. More detailed proposals will follow in 2016.

  4. Similarly the proposed directives on contract rules for digital content and for the online sale of tangible goods will be finalised through the EU’s legislative procedure. BIS will be discussing them with the Commission and interested stakeholders. It is expected that negotiations on the two proposed directives will begin in earnest early next year.