A few days ago, Netflix announced it will stop users from outside the country of USA watching Netflix shows via a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Outside of the US, Netflix operates in about 40 countries with about 26 million subscribers. Unlike the content-rich country of origin, many of the US programs are not available for these foreign subscribers, and so some of them have resorted to using VPN to watch Netflix programs whilst others have to pay extra to their local cable provider who buy the rights of these shows from content owners.
Last year, the head of Canada’s largest media company, Bell Canada, openly admitted her 15-year-old daughter used a VPN to get access to Netflix shows that aren’t accessible in Canada (Read the The Globe & Mail article here). While Netflix can’t broadcast the same content to the rest of the world due to geographical licensing issues with the content owners, for foreign subscribers, this can be very frustrating. If nothing else, it might turn away current subscribers towards piracy.
While Netflix did not go into detail how it will detect proxies users from foreign countries, once the changes take effect users will get an error message and be told to disable their VPN. It is also important to note that many subscribers and users of VPNs have legitimate reasons for doing so, other than circumventing regional barriers to watch a couple of television shows. Many users conduct their personal and businesses using VPN for the extra layer of privacy and security in an increasingly data-mining world.
Are you a non-US subscribers of Netflix? How does this news affect you as a subscriber? Please leave your comment below.