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.
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).
- Press release (February 2017)
- Joint statement (March 2018)
- Questions and Answers (March 2018)
- Agreement reached on the new regulation (February 2017)
- Portability factsheet (April 2018)
- Letter to national authorities from Roberto Viola, Director General of DG CONNECT, stating the position of the services of the Commission on the application of the Portability Regulation (June 2018)
- Eurobarometer survey on cross-border portability
- First feedback from the implementation of the Portability Regulation by free online video services