The 1st of April 2019 marks one year since the regulation on portability of online content services allowed Europeans to travel across the EU with their online subscriptions. A Eurobarometer survey confirms that the rules have brought significant benefits to Europeans.

graphic showing hands holding portable devices and hastag portability

The Regulation on cross-border portability of online content services entered into force exactly one year ago. The new rules aimed to improve the way Europeans access and use their online subscriptions to content when travelling or staying temporarily in another European country. Portability, together with mobile roaming and the removal of unjustified geo-blocking, is a cornerstone of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market policy.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said: “We are very pleased to see that Europeans are enjoying their new digital rights across borders. This is another concrete step taken towards building a true Digital Single Market and modernising EU rules to make them fit with the digital era."   

One year of Portability of online content services

One year after, most respondents in the EU know about the cross-border portability of online content services. Over two thirds of respondents (68%) in the 15-24-year-old age group say they are aware they can access paid subscriptions for online content services while travelling in other EU countries.

The survey shows that an increasing number of people have a subscription to access content online. 41% of the respondents who use the Internet to access content have a paid subscription to audiovisual content such as films, series or TV (excluding sports) and 26% to music. In a survey carried out in January 2015 a similar question measured a smaller proportion of respondents citing they had paid for an online subscription (20% for audiovisual content and 12% for music).

It is interesting to note that for Europeans who travel often confirm the importance of the rules for their journeys. Nearly half (49%) of Europeans who have a free of charge or paid subscription for online content services and have travelled in the EU have tried to access it when visiting another EU country. A third of respondents say the longest they have used their subscription while in another EU country is up to a week (33%), while just under a quarter of those polled say they have used their subscriptions between a week and two weeks (24%). A majority of respondents (58%) say accessing paid subscriptions from another EU country worked well.

Over four in ten (43%) of those that currently do not have any paid subscription to online content services say that they think it is important to be able to able to access this subscription while travelling in another EU country. Young respondents are more likely to consider this important, with 69% of those aged 15-24 and 52% of those aged 25-39 saying that if they took out a paid subscription service in the future it would be important for them to be able to access it when in another Member State.

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