Cross-border portability of online content services after the transition period

31 January 2020


The objective of the portability rules is to broaden access to online content services for travellers in the European Union. Europeans will be able to fully use their online subscriptions to films, sports events, eBooks, video games and music services when travelling within the European Union.

The Regulation on cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market (June 2017), also known as the portability regulation, enables consumers to access their portable online content services when they travel in the EU in the same way they access them at home. For instance, when a French consumer subscribes to CanalPlay film and series online services, the user will be able to watch the films and series available from that service in France, when he or she goes on holidays to Croatia or on a business trip to Denmark.

The portability regulation became applicable in all EU Member States on 1 April 2018.

Online content service providers like Netflix, MyTF1 or HBO will verify the subscriber's country of residence by using means such as payment details, the existence of an internet contract or by checking the IP address. All providers who offer paid online content services will have to follow the new rules, while 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.

The possibility to have access to online content services when travelling has become even more important since 15 June 2017, when the new roaming rules entered into force. Ever since, people who travel periodically pay domestic prices for mobile internet, subject to fair use, irrespective of where they are travelling in the EU.

Some figures

The new rules reflect new ways in which Europeans enjoy culture and entertainment services. In 2016, 64% of Europeans used the internet to play or download games, images, films or music. They did it increasingly through mobile devices. In a survey carried out in 2015, one in three Europeans wanted cross-border portability. For young people, this possibility is even more important. Half of people aged between 15 and 39 years old thought that portability and accessing the service they subscribe to when travelling in Europe was important. These figures are supported, one year after the implementation of the new rules, by a Eurobarometer survey which confirmed the benefits brought to Europeans.

Online services concerned

The online services can be video-on-demand platforms (such as Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Mubi, Chili TV), online TV services (such as Viasat's Viaplay, Sky's Now TV, Voyo), music streaming services (such as Spotify, Deezer, Google Music) or game online marketplaces (such as Steam, Origin).


Kindly supplied by GOV.UK


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