E.U. Cross-Border Portability and How it Affects Netflix

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.

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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9 thoughts on “E.U. Cross-Border Portability and How it Affects Netflix

  1. Aww, but seeing what’s on Netflix in other countries is part of the fun! I watched a few things when we were away, because they weren’t available in the UK.

  2. More restrictions only invite people to use the illegal ways to watch stuff. A separate problem authorities are having to deal with.

    Surely the studio’s ought to be more generous with more broader licensing to encourage viewers to subscription services and away from Kodi add-ons and Terrarium, etc.

    1. It’s not a restriction though – it’s better for consumers. UK people can now watch iPlayer anywhere in Europe. French subscribers to CanalPlay can watch it outside of France. The only difference to Netflix subscribers is that those who travel or use VPN can only see their UK content – which is what they pay for anyway.

  3. “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.”

    Maybe try enjoying your holiday without sitting around watching Netflix?

    1. Because when the kids go to bed I can’t exactly leave them in the hotel room and go elsewhere, can I? So I watch a bit of Netflix and, funnily enough, still enjoy the holiday.

  4. at Spotify the higher ups would have a “catalogue all” tag on their account. I bet the higher ups at netflix have the same thing. What I would give for a similar tag on my netflix account.

    people use vpn’s, but I can’t be bothered with that. the cyprus catalogue is great, but it does lack a few things like supernatural. The UK netflix is a lot worse with no super hero shows or anything as sky have all of them 🙁

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