Vince Cable, the UK’s Business Secretary, has backed calls for a single European digital market, which would mean removing geo blocks on Netflix content across Europe.
In a statement, Cable says that all people in the EU should be able to purchase European goods and services online “without unfair discrimination”. This extends to streaming services, which he says should be “portable” within the union.
As many Netflix subscribers know, the TV shows and movies you access in for example the UK won’t be available in another country if you were to travel there.
“In today’s world of smartphones and Wi-Fi, consumers who have paid for a service rightly expect to be able to use it across borders in the EU,” said Cable. “But at the moment we have a patchwork quilt of digital content and services – very good in some places but threadbare in others.”
“That’s why I’m calling for the creation of a digital single market. Not only would this boost UK and Eurozone economies by €340 billion but it will make online prices fairer, enable startups to be formed within 24 hours, and help businesses sell throughout the EU.”
A number of other politicians across the EU have called for the establishment of a digital single market in Europe. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has also backed the single market among his priorities for his presidency.
Cable’s statement adds that harmonized rules on digital sales would protect the privacy of customers’ data.
Netflix launched in several new EU countries earlier in 2014 but remains unavailable in several major countries as well, including Spain.
Netflix Eyes Up International Expansion
Yesterday Netflix announced its quarterly earnings. As its number of subscriptions has leveled out in North America, the streaming giant will now be focusing its growth plans on international expansion with launches in Australia and New Zealand coming in March.
It has promised to be in 200 countries within the next two years according to yesterday’s announcement and it pulled in 4.3m new customers in the last quarter, which brings its global subscriber number to 47.4m.
One analyst stated that strong gains in Europe of late had pushed these numbers up.
New markets will include a “modest investment” in China, chief executive Reed Hastings said on a conference call. Netflix needs a license to operate in the country, and “it’s not 100 per cent clear we’ll be able to do that,” he said.