EU portability rules came into force this week and as of from 1st April you should, in theory, be able to access the same media content in a member state as you can in your home country.
If you’re an EU citizen this means you can access the same digital music, movies, books and more while you’re travelling throughout the EU.
One of the most popular services is clearly BBC iPlayer not only with Brits but also those on the mainland who are eager to get their hands on some of the best programming in the world. However, BBC iPlayer currently finds themselves outside those rules and as such, it is not accessible in the EU.
In a clear mix-up, sections of the BBC seem not to be aware of their own policies as one official BBC Twitter account made the gaff that BBC iPlayer was now available in ‘Europe’.
Who let the intern on social media?
The tweet was posted early on Friday morning from the BBC twitter account @BBCFilms and read:
Traveling [sic] in Europe this year? No need to panic, you can now watch BBC iPlayer abroad! As of April 1st, you no longer need to miss out on your favourite films and TV series. Check out the wide range of choices available now on @BBCiPlayer
Not only did the person responsible use the American-English variation of the word “Traveling” but they also sent BBC iPlayer fans into a frenzy trying to access their favourite shows throughout the continent.
One Twitter user @r_euben who spotted the post and then its removal asked “Why was the tweet in the attached photo deleted? I tried accessing iPlayer abroad and it did not work, by the way, so was this a mistake?”.
It appears BBC Films don’t respond to individual tweets from other users so the query went unanswered.
Tweet swiftly, well slowly, removed
The offending tweet was available for around 5 hours and with nearly 200k followers it’s likely many of them took up the challenge of accessing BBC iPlayer in the EU only to be left disappointed.
The now deleted tweet not only wrongly claimed that BBC iPlayer was now available due to portability rules but went further to suggest it was available in “Europe” rather than correctly in the EU. The EU currently has 28 countries until the United Kingdom leaves but Europe as a whole comprises of up to 50.
Portability rules only apply to EU countries.
Under the EU portability rules, free-to-air services such as the UK’s ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 aren’t required to allow the service to be accessed throughout the EU. Although the BBC charge UK residents an annual license fee it is not a subscription service as such and is not required to be offered throughout the continent.
How to access iPlayer in the EU
Although BBC iPlayer is not available in the EU through the new regulations it is still possible to watch it using a privacy tool known as a VPN.
A VPN allows you to change your online location to make it appear as if you’re in another country. In this case appear as if you’re in the UK.
As long as you’ve got a valid TV license to make sure you’re not breaking the law you can use a VPN app to change your location to the United Kingdom and then watch in the EU or in fact, anywhere else in the world.
If you’re interested to know more about how you can watch anywhere read our ‘How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad’ guide.