VPN Articles and News

Netflix Considering Going Global To Stop VPN Piracy

Monday, June 15th, 2015

In a news that is sure to delight millions of fans of online streaming services, Netflix is considering doing away with geographical restrictions and making its entire content library available to subscribers from all the regions. The streaming giant wants to tear down regional barriers since it is well aware that people can readily access TV shows and movies that are not available in their geographical area through services like Virtual Private Networks. If Netflix decides to implement this strategy, it will have a seismic impact on On-Demand content distribution and online streaming would never be the same again.

While Netflix operates in dozens of countries, its content library isn’t the same across all the regions. Subscribers from Unites States get access to a rich content library featuring thousands of TV shows and movies while those in other countries have to be satisfied with a limited choice of content. Additionally, the company gives preference to locally produced content which explains why there are so few English titles available in Latin American and European versions of Netflix. Moreover, the company has signed licensing agreements with content providers (production companies and studios) which specifically forbid content distribution outside a specific country or geographical area.

The above limitations pose a big challenge for Netflix subscribers (especially expats and tourists) who wish to watch popular shows from a different country. Since Netflix won’t let them watch their favorite shows in a legal way, people often resort to using services like VPNs to catch their daily dose of entertainment. In fact, it is even known to the Netflix management that most international subscribers prefer to access US version of Netflix even if the service is officially available in their own country. For instance, although Netflix is now available in Australia, it is estimated that as many as 200,000 people access the US version of the service through VPNs.

Speaking to Gizmodo Australia, Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings said that the company is aware of the VPN scenario and the best way to resolve this issue would be to have the same content across the world so that there would be no incentive left to use IP switching services. He termed subscribers accessing the service via VPNs as people who want to pay for the service but can’t do it due to geographical restrictions. For the record, the company did try to block a limited number of VPN services in January but later it issued a statement saying that it was not planning a total ban on such services.

During his conversation, Hastings also discussed about piracy. He said that piracy was the real challenge facing the content providers and not the use of VPNs which he termed as a small issue. He elaborated that when people don’t want to pay for the content that they are watching then it’s a real problem. He also hoped that the industry would be able to fix the issue of geographical restrictions so that more people could be encouraged to access On-Demand content in a legal way.

June 15, 2015

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