Netflix is now in 190 countries, and it’s widely assumed that viewers can access a wealth of streaming titles, but that’s not the case. While the company’s technology is advanced and its reach is global, Netflix must still observe territorial rights. To keep it simple, when studios finance films, part of the budget comes from distribution deals made in a variety of countries around the world, so while one movie may be released in the United States by The Weinstein Company, it might be handled by another company in Portugal. So when Netflix makes a deal to stream a film or TV show, it must secure rights via the distributor in each territory. For a long time, Netflix users outside the U.S. who found the company’s catalog selection wanting used browser widgets, proxy servers, or VPNs to hide their IPs and gain access to the streaming site’s plethora of titles. But it seems those days are over.
While it has politely looked the other way for years, Netflix VP of content delivery architecture David Fullagar revealed today that the company will be blocking access to users who to come the site through third party means. Here’s a portion of what he had to say in a blog post:
…given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory. In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location.
Some members use proxies or “unblockers” to access titles available outside their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are. We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.
It’s not exactly clear what technology Netflix will be using to block users, but the company seems confident. However, Netflix recognizes the pain some customers face in not being able to access the shows or movies they want, and Fullagar says that Netflix being able to offer the same content everywhere is “the goal we will keep pushing towards.”
Are you about to be shut out? Will you continue using Netflix if you are? Hit the comments section and let us know.