Europe considers banning geoblocking on video streaming services

The European Union (EU) is mulling the expansion of a ban on geoblocking online services to video streaming, TorrentFreak reports.

This comes after a recent report from the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection urged the EU Commission to review its existing geoblocking policies.

Geoblocking enables streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to have varying selections of movies and series in their libraries in different countries.

The technology is essential for abiding by licensing agreements with content providers.

Streaming services might only buy the rights to show a movie or series in a few countries where they feel the content would appeal to their audience.

This helps reduce the costs of licencing content.

The approach also allows content providers to sell the rights to the same movie to different streaming providers.

Consumers want it all — and they want it now

However, geoblocking can be frustrating in an increasingly connected world, where people from all countries want to enjoy the broadest range of content, products, and services available.

Virtual private networks (VPNs) already let users bypass geoblocks on certain streaming services. However, this typically comes at an extra cost if you want a high-quality and unlimited service.

The EU’s ban on geoblocking under the Digital Single Market Act already covers other types of services and content.

It seeks to ensure citizens of all its member countries can enjoy the same benefits while in its territory.

The current proposals to expand the ban to the audiovisual sector do not yet include the termination of regional licences and the introduction of one EU-wide content licence.

However, the discussions have emphasised that heritage and catalogue content should be available in “unsold” countries.

That implies that content providers would be compelled to make movies and TV shows unlicensed in one country but sold in a neighbour available on the same streaming service.

Now read: Most popular shows on TV and Netflix in South Africa

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Europe considers banning geoblocking on video streaming services