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UK minister calls for Netflix to offer the same content when Brits travel abroad


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At the moment, if you travel abroad and open up the Netflix app you'll notice that its library of films and TV shows is vastly different. That's because the company has cut a variety of agreements with rights holders in different countries, which restrict what content it can make available to its subscribers. So while Netflix might have a deal to offer Doctor Who in the UK, it doesn't necessarily have the rights to offer it in other parts of Europe. It means that if you're abroad and want to continue binge-watching the Time Lord's adventures, you could be out of luck. It's a frustrating reality of the media industry, and why some savvy streamers have turned to proxies and VPNs in order to access Netflix's library in other countries. Now, the UK's Business Secretary Vince Cable wants to cover up these restrictions altogether with a "single online market" for Europe. It would, in theory, make services such as Netflix "portable," so that whenever you travel abroad your library remains the same.

Under such a system, you would be able to watch Netflix's UK catalogue of films and TV programmes anywhere across the continent. However, any additional shows normally available to Netflix subscribers in other countries would remain out of your reach. Unsurprisingly, Cable didn't detail exactly how his proposals would be implemented, and we suspect such a change would cause quite a tangle for Netflix and rights holders trying to work out which royalties need to be paid. These international complexities are, at least in part, why Netflix has been so focused on its original programming recently, and why we're keeping a healthy degree of skepticism that such an idea will ever get off the ground.

[Image Credit: Liberal Democrats, Flickr]

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