UK residents may not be able to use Netflix, Spotify or other streaming services when traveling to mainland Europe, and if that happens, they will have Brexit to blame. British lawmakers are trying to work out a deal with the European Union for when the UK leaves it, but so far they have not been successful.
UK residents currently benefit from “portability” regulation
Currently there is a so-called “portability” regulation in place. That regulation requires streaming services like Netflix and Spotify to let users access their services whether they are at home in Britain or are traveling to other parts of Europe. For example, the regulation means UK citizens can travel to Italy or another part of the EU and still be able to access their streaming subscriptions while they’re away from home.
According to the Independent, one of the papers included in a collection of documents which has just been released indicates that this “portability” regulation would no longer apply. The documents cover expected impacts if the UK should leave the EU without a deal in place. They also suggest Britain will lose out on the free trade agreements it currently enjoys with over 70 countries which aren’t part of the EU.
No-deal Brexit would impact geo-blocking too
The paper about streaming services suggests that without a Brexit deal, Netflix, Spotify and other streaming services won’t be required or even able to allow British citizens to access their services when they travel to the EU.
It suggests the same issue with the Geo-Blocking Regulation, which enables Europeans to purchase online services throughout the bloc without facing penalties for purchasing a service being sold in one of the other countries. For example, the writer suggests that UK-based companies would be allowed to give better terms to British citizens and different terms to residents of EU countries.
The Geo-Blocking Regulation goes into effect in December, three months before Brexit is scheduled to take place. That would mean British citizens could benefit from the regulation until March, when the UK exits the EU.
At this point, Neither Netflix, nor Spotify or any other streaming company which provides services in the UK and Europe has commented on the claims. Thus, it’s unclear what these companies will do if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal in place.