Major film studios Disney, Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, and Sony have agreed to stop geoblocking their films in Europe, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This action will allow their films on Sky UK to be viewed in countries outside of Ireland and Britain. Under the European Union competition rules, geoblocking practices are illegal. The TV pay company will also stop putting restricting guidelines that prevent NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner Bros. from allowing their films to be on other TV pay platforms throughout Europe.
This issue was first brought up by the European Commission in 2015. They argued that these agreements “eliminate cross-border competition between TV pay firms.” They go against the EU’s law of the European Single Market which guarantees the unrestricted movement of commodities, such as services and capital, in the EU. In 2016, Paramount was the first studio to agree to stop geoblocking their films. Paramount faced criticism for their concession since the concept of leveraging the availability of films in different locations is a strategy to receive financing for films in Europe.
While this issue has been settled, the Commission will be looking into other services that Sky has in Germany, Italy, and France’s Canal Plus.