In January 2020, after more than three years of bitterness and political infighting, the United Kingdom officially exited the European Union, closing one of the most unstable chapters in its history.

The majority of Britain’s creative industries favored remaining in the European Union and were devastated by the country’s decision to leave. With looming uncertainties, media production facilities had several questions on their mind, one of which was “What would the implications on cross-border streaming access be”? 

For consumers, there are still walk-arounds that they can exercise, such as the use of a VPN software which enables you to access geo-restricted services. Therefore, viewers can still watch ITV outside the UK, without losing on their favorite British.

What Exactly is Brexit?

On January 31st, 2020, Britain officially withdrew itself from the EU, marking the beginning of a period known as “Brexit” or “British Exit.” Despite being a member of the European Union for nearly half a century, the UK is the only country to have formally departed the organization.

In a nutshell, British discontent with EU governance and economic system may be explained by the fallout from Angela Merkel’s stance on immigration, among other things.

Brexit’s Impact on Streaming Services

The digital industry, and notably the market for online content, has been severely impacted by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. With the implementation of the “Digital Single Market” in 2018, subscribers in one EU country might watch their home video streaming service while visiting another EU country. That rule of law further implied that:

  • Access to online content providers was standardized across Europe at the time, including the United Kingdom.
  • Subscriptions to media content ranging from movies to live sports were included.
  • There were benefits for both subscribers and service providers when ‘boundaries’ were dismantled.

A UK citizen temporarily residing in any other EEA Member State will be allowed to access their home country’s material “on a voluntary basis,” but providers will no longer be compelled to do so.

The EU Portability Regulation will no longer apply to travel between the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area as of January 1, 2021. The official government website also notes, “From 1 January 2021, customers from the European Economic Area (EEA) may experience restrictions to the content available to them during their visit to the United Kingdom.”

Let’s take a look at some of the services affected by Brexit.

Which Services Are Affected?

Amazon Prime

When traveling to EU countries (or anyplace else in the globe) after January 1, Amazon Prime Video members in the United Kingdom will no longer be able to watch the full UK repertoire, including live Premier League games.

Prime Video users who are temporarily abroad will not have access to the country’s native library of material, unlike some other services. Instead, customers are limited to the “Watch Abroad” section of Prime Video, where they will find Amazon’s international original series.

Customers who are permanently relocating from the United Kingdom to another region will need to change their country of residence on Amazon.


Sky’s no-contract streaming service, NOW TV,  provides adaptable content subscriptions (called “passes”) that can be viewed on many different media players. A December 29, 2020 announcement states that “roaming has ended,” implies that NOW TV Passes can no longer be used to view content in any EU country.

As a result, from this point forward, NOW TV subscriptions can only be viewed within the United Kingdom.

Some NOW TV programming can be downloaded to your phone and viewed offline (within 30 days), so you can watch it no matter where you go as long as you remember to do so before you leave.

Movement of Crew and Equipment

The free flow of crew and equipment between Britain and Europe is still a major area of uncertainty for the film and television industry. For the time being, inhabitants of the United Kingdom and Europe can work in each other’s countries without the need for a special work visa. British staff members working on a multinational production like “Game of Thrones” have been able to readily travel with the series to filming locations all throughout Europe, including Spain and Croatia.

For business trips and service provision to the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, however, new regulations take effect on January 1, 2021.

The specifics of these regulations have not yet been determined. The British government is negotiating with the European Union to secure a reciprocal agreement that would empower British nationals to engage in temporary business activity in the EU without the need for a work visa.

It’s possible that the British crew will need a work permit in order to film in Europe if an agreement isn’t reached.

Similarly, negotiations are ongoing to ensure the free flow of commodities, including filmmaking gear, between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Without a pact, productions may need a carnet, or a special customs permission, to temporarily transport equipment between countries for shooting.


On January 1, 2020, everything shifted. Previously, British citizens who were traveling within the European Union had been able to continue using their UK accounts on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Brexit inadvertently changed that in an instant.

Since the United Kingdom is leaving the Digital Single Market, British citizens will no longer be able to take their digital content with them whilst traveling.  However, a UK consumer temporarily residing in any other EEA Member State will be allowed to access their home country’s material “on a voluntary basis,” but content service providers will no longer be compelled to do so.