EU accepts Hollywood studios, Sky UK offers to counter geoblocking


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European Union flags are seen outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission has accepted commitments offered by top Hollywood film studios and Sky UK on their pay-TV services that will allow European Union consumers outside Britain and Ireland to access films via satellite or online.

The decision will prevent so-called “geoblocking” that hinders EU consumers from subscribing to TV services in countries other than their own.

Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros and Sky made commitments to end these practices, which are illegal under EU competition rules.

“These commitments address the Commission’s concerns,” the EU executive said in a statement on Thursday.

Under the deal, Hollywood studios agreed not to apply clauses that prevent EU consumers outside Britain and Ireland from subscribing to Sky UK’s pay TV services to access films via satellite or online.

They have also agreed not to introduce geoblocking clauses in future film-licensing contracts with other broadcasters in the European Economic Area, which includes the 28 EU states and Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland

Sky’s contracts require film studios to ensure that their movies are not available on rival pay-TV services available in Britain and Ireland. But the British company has now agreed that it will no longer apply these clauses.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Toby Chopra

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