Say Goodbye to All Your Overseas Netflix Content | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Say Goodbye to All Your Overseas Netflix Content

Tamsin Hackett looks over new proposals by Netflix to restrict proxies, VPNs and 'unblockers'

After Netflix’s expansion into 130 more countries, making it available almost everywhere in the world, the Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture, David Fullagar has written a blog post about stopping users accessing content outside of their own country.

Currently, proxies, VPNs, and ‘unblockers’ all allow users to pretend they that they are in a different country, leaving Netflix unable to identify who is genuinely in one country, and who is not. Users do this because different TV shows and movies are available in different locations. However, it seems this trend will soon be coming to an end.

'Those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access service in the country that they are currently in'
Netflix has technically banned users accessing content from elsewhere before, but has been relatively relaxed on enforcing those rules. Now Fullagar says that "those using proxies and ‘unblockers' will only be able to access service in the country that they are currently in" and this will be strongly enforced, suggesting that they may start tracking and identifying those users who are regularly signing in to different locations.

The varying content in each area is also a huge problem for users as all countries are charged the same amount, despite significant differences in the quality and quantity of the content available. Thus, subscribers have used these proxies and ‘unblockers’ so as to get their money’s worth. Whilst Netflix has previously expressed their intention to make all content the same everywhere, saying it is "the goal we keep pushing towards", the movement has been made difficult by local licensing laws which mean that copyright permission must be given separately from country to country.

'The company’s international audience is key to its growth over the coming years, so this change could seriously affect the company’s potential'
Moreover, while viewers may think this change is bad for them, it could be even worse for Netflix. The company’s international audience is key to its growth over the coming years, so this change could seriously affect the company’s potential as users threaten to leave; or would-be users decide the content of their country is not worth the subscription after the free trial ends. Users have immediately taken to social media after the announcement to express their annoyance at the potential new rules – many suggesting that they will end their subscription with Netflix due to their country’s content not being up to par with the selection in other countries like the US.

These changes don’t look like they will improve Netflix for either viewers or for the company itself, so who knows how strongly enforced the rules will be this time; or whether this will see a fall in the users of the popularity streaming service.

All the same, at least according to the company’s rhetoric, it seems we’re all going to need to be prepared to say goodbye to your favourite overseas shows.



Published

9th February 2016 at 3:23 pm



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