Beginning Sunday, EU residents will be able to access their local streaming content—Netflix, Amazon Video, etc.—even when crossing the border into another European country. Thanks to Brexit, however, UK citizens may miss out.
Today, when you travel from England to France your streaming sites, such as Netflix, will switch from your native English language and content and only show content native to France. This means that those who travel across the EU regularly can’t watch their favorite shows.
New legislation from the EU, however, will prevent this from happening, meaning regardless of which EU country you’re in, you can still access the content that is native to you. It’s called a media passport, and paid services such as Sky’s Now TV, and even music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, will all have to follow suit.
Various newspapers have reported that the EU wants to “block” UK residents from benefiting from this new legislation, however, the BBC reports that the government said “portability” is still under negotiation. What’s certain is that, up until May 29, 2019, those in the UK will be treated like other EU countries and be able to stream their local content no matter which EU country they’re in. But once Brexit happens, “persons residing in the UK will no longer benefit from their digital content subscriptions when traveling to the EU,” the European Commission said in a statement.
Regardless, there is still an answer for UK citizens to access their native content, regardless of where they are in the world. You can always bypass geolocation restrictions and unblock Netflix with a Virtual Private Network.
A VPN encrypts your web traffic via its secure servers. It will provide you with an all-new IP address so your Internet Service Provider, as well as the sites you’re trying to visit, don’t know where you’re really located. A VPN like Hotspot Shield grants the ability to select which server you want to join and offers over 20+ virtual locations to choose from.
What this means is that you can use Hotspot Shield VPN to connect to a server located in the United Kingdom (this will give you a UK IP address) even if you are on the other side of the world. Sites like Netflix will think you’re in London, even if you’re in Lisbon, and your native content will be unblocked.
To some degree, the outcome of the EU media passport, then, doesn’t matter (there are options even if this legislation is blocked for residents of the UK). However, this conversation speaks to the broader fallout that could be faced in a post-Brexit world. As to how that all plays out, only time will tell.