SOME RESIDENTS THROUGHOUT the Orihuela Costa have been discovering that they have lost access to their digital TV services over the last couple of days. But the service outage affects the availability of some big-name streaming television services across Europe, and it's one of the consequences of the UK's departure from the EU.
The unexpected loss of some digital TV services was forecast back in March 2018. At that time, the European Commission warned that “Persons residing in the United Kingdom will no longer benefit from their digital content subscriptions when travelling to the EU, once the UK leaves the European Union.”
Online subscription services in the EU are protected by regulations introduced in 2017 that force paid-for service providers to ensure that consumers can access their online digital content within the EU regardless of their location.
Known as the cross-border portability regulation, the objective of the legislation is to broaden access to online content to ensure that Europeans can enjoy their online subscriptions to films, sports events, eBooks, video games and music services anywhere.
But with the expiration of the transition period and the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, the portability rules no longer apply to UK-based paid-for online content providers.
Digital TV services from Amazon and Sky
An updated statement on the Sky website reports “There are certain EU rules which mean people in the EU can use online content services across all EU countries. From 1 January 2021, the UK won't be part of the EU, so we won't provide our service in the same way.”
“You won't be entitled to stream Sky outside the UK using your Sky Go, Sky Kids, Sky Sports, Sky Sports Mobile TV and Sky Sports Box Office apps. Some Sky apps will allow you to download your favourite shows and movies over WiFi before you leave the UK to watch offline while you're abroad.”
That means those on holiday will no longer be able to catch up on the latest episode of Love Island, stream a football fixture, or keep the kids entertained with a Paw Patrol boxset at the airport before the flight home.
The availability of Amazon Prime Video services for UK residents living in Spain has been affected, and subscribers are advised to change their account location settings to view localised content. The change means that some premium content, such as Premier League football, won't be available to view in Spain or any part of the European Union.
A notice on the Amazon website states “From January 1st 2021 customers from the United Kingdom won't have access to the same titles as they do when watching Amazon Prime Video in their home country”.
Netflix has promised to continue to support current digital TV subscriptions for UK travellers and international residents post-Brexit. A notice on the company's website states “For countries within the European Union, we provide the same content as your previous home country for a limited period.”
Netflix streaming services to continue in the EU
Nonetheless, Netflix streaming services remain available in full to more than 190 countries including Spain. “Our library of TV shows and movies varies based on the country” stated the American global content platform.
Visitors and holidaymakers from the UK were used to taking their favourite dramas, sports and movies with them on holiday – all just the swipe of a finger away. And whilst the European legislation was designed to protect the rights of travellers abroad, UK residents throughout Europe have relied on consistent access to their digital TV services from home.
Yesterday, local residents on the Orihuela Costa were reporting problems on the La Zenia Community Group, with members describing a variety of playback issues. “Netflix UK and USA still fine but Amazon UK unavailable, now so no premiership streaming,” wrote Grange.
The change has affected UK-based streaming TV viewers throughout Europe, with Bjorn from Norway writing “So that's why suddenly Amazon Prime said ‘This content is not available in your region.' We are currently in Norway so it cannot be only in Spain.”
Residents of Orihuela Costa with paid-for digital content accounts with Amazon or Netflix already based in Spain will remain unaffected by the changes.
Looking for holiday ideas and travel inspiration? Find out more about our favourite recommended things to do on the Orihuela Costa or join the La Zenia community Facebook group and find out what's going on in the local area.
Photo credit: LaZenia.com