Paramount’s catalogue of movies can now be enjoyed by Sky customers across the whole of Europe instead of just in the UK and Ireland, that’s because the two companies have come to an agreement after receiving backlash from the European Commission.
Typically, movie studios negotiate agreements on a country-by-country basis allowing them to reap more money out of each individual broadcaster by giving them exclusivity in certain countries. This annoyed many customers who happened to subscribe to a service that had exclusivity in one country, but didn’t have access to the content in another – a service like Sky. It was through this annoyance that the practice caught the attention of the European Commission.
The EU antitrust commission decided to sue Sky UK and associated movie studios for the subscription TV service’s practice of blocking content to subscribers outside the UK and Ireland. That’s despite many people across Europe subscribing to Sky UK’s subscription service and being forced to pay more for less content.
Paramount is hoping to avoid further litigation by removing a clause that stops Sky UK from offering its services elsewhere – and it’s a deal that the commission appears willing to accept. Unfortunately, other movie studios such as Disney have yet to follow suit, but Sony is hoping to avoid further investigation by signing an exclusive agreement with Sky for European-wide content distribution.
This latest action is all part of the European Commission’s goal to eliminate content restrictions across the single market. Instead the EU wants to make content that is available in one EU country available in them all – a goal it hopes to achieve by 2017 as part of the Digital Single Market.
If the EU gets its way people in the UK will be able to enjoy the same Netflix catalogue as the people in France, while the people in Germany will be able to watch all the content available in Poland.