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Interest in cross-border streaming growing, but EU consumers still confused

Over half of EU citizens are aware of EU action to counter geoblocking of goods and services including video streaming services, but only 29% know which rights specifically apply to them, according to a Eurobarometer survey carried out for the European Commission.

The survey found that the number of internet users trying to get cross-border access to content has nearly doubled over the last four years, up from 8% in 2015 to 15% in 2019..

The most popular types of content sought across borders is audiovisual, sought by 9% of respondents, and music, sought by 8%.

The percentage of 15 to 24 year-old respondents who have tried to access these services across borders is 28%, nearly double the overall figure.

The most common reasons for trying to access such content are lack of availability in the respondents’ own country, cited by 44%, followed by desire for a wider choice, cited by 39%.

A majority of those who did not try to have access to content meant for users in another EU country would be interested in doing so, in particular in relation to audio-visual, cited by 31%, and music, cited by 29%.

Some 32% of survey respondents have tried to access an online subscription, whether free registration/subscription or paid-for subscription, from another EU country in the past year, rising to 49% of those who visited another EU country in that period.

A majority – 58% – of those who have accessed paid subscriptions from another EU country say it worked well. Some 15% noted either that the choice of content was limited or was different compared with what is available in their country, while 14% experienced problems with the quality or speed of the connection.

Only 3% mentioned that the service was not accessible despite good Internet connection.

Some 43% of those that currently do not have any paid subscription to online content services say that they think it is important to be able to access this subscription while travelling in another EU country, rising to 69% of those aged 15-24 and 52% of those aged 25-39. Only 25% among those aged 55 and over think the same.

More than half of respondents to the survey use the Internet to download or stream music, films or TV series. Music is the most popular type of content accessed online or downloaded, but audiovisual content follows close behind, with 56% of respondents having accessed this type of content in the past year, and 37% saying they do this regularly. The proportion of those saying they do this regularly has also grown since the last survey, by two percentage points.

Audiovisual content is the most commonly paid for type of content excluding sport. Four in 10 pay for films, series and TV content through a subscription service, up from 20% in 2015.

Sports streaming has meanwhile declined. A majority of respondents in all countries say they never use the Internet to download or stream sports programmes. The proportion streaming or downloading sports regularly has dropped by one percentage point since 2015, while the proportion who say they never stream of download sports has risen by 4%.

Consumers were surveyed in February and March.