One of the neat features of Netflix is that you get to see different shows and TV when you travel abroad. Recently I visited friends in The Netherlands and I got to watch “The Ritual” – a UK film that was a Netflix Original everywhere else in the world but not available on Netflix in the UK. Netflix gives you access to the shows and movies of the country you are in, not where you are from. However, a new E.U. Regulation came into place on April 1st (not an April fool) that will change this for subscribers from E.U. Member States.
The regulation has been put in place to allow users to have access to their legally-paid content wherever they are in Europe – at present someone in France who pays for CanalPlay would not usually be able to use that service outside of France, likewise you can’t use BBC iPlayer outside of the UK even as a license payer. The new E.U. regulation ‘on cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market‘ means that this will change.
So, how does this affect Netflix? If your account is from an E.U. member state (i.e. you pay for it in a European currency, have a European IP address etc) then wherever you travel in Europe you will only see the content from your home country. Someone from the UK travelling in France will see the content from UK Netflix and not the different French content however an American travelling around Europe will see the content from the country they are currently in. I.e. it only affects subscribers who pay for their account in Europe.
While the regulation doesn’t come into affect until Sunday April 1st, we are already seeing reports of Netflix rolling this out ahead of the change. There is also the added question of how Brexit will affect this regulation for UK subscribers come 2019…
The Netflix Help Pages about travelling now have some added information for members from E.U. countries:
Selection of TV shows and movies: Your choices for streaming (including audio/subtitle options) will be the same as the location you are traveling from.
If you are traveling for an extended period of time, or traveling to a country outside of the European Union, you may notice that the available choices change. For countries within the European Union, we provide the same content as your home country for a limited period of time. We’ll let you know when the limited period is over, and you’ll have access to the TV shows and movies for the country you are travelling to. When this happens, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Whereas non-E.U. countries have the following:
Selection of TV shows and movies: Your choices for streaming (including audio/subtitle options) will vary from country to country.
What are your thoughts on the new regulation? While it’s good that I will be able to watch BBC iPlayer while I’m travelling, I can’t help but feel a little disaponted that I can’t see different shows and movies on Netflix when I’m on holiday.