Netflix has announced it will clamp down on users who access it through virtual private networks (VPNs). Or as the company puts it, in a masterpiece of Orwellian PR-talk, “Evolving Proxy Detection as a Global Service”.
David Fullagar, Netflix's veep of Content Delivery Architecture, explains that the company can't yet secure rights to the same content in all of the 190 nations where it now operates. Some customers, he continues, therefore use proxies, unblockers, VPNs and other geo-dodges to make it look like they're in a nation where the content they desire can be streamed.
Netflix has tolerated this behaviour in the past: Australians, for example, were able to access the service over VPN before it officially opened in the nation and weren't immediately herded to the local service.
Tolerance for such practices is now at an end, as Fullagar writes that “in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are.”
Fullagar's post ends with Netflix's earnest hopes that it can one day provide a consistent content catalog for the world. Just how isn't explained and Australia, again, offers an example of why Netflix's ambition will be hard to achieve. Down under, Netflix has a rival named “Stan” that bid up big for shows it felt would help it build a local business. Local pay-TV operator Foxtel does likewise. Netflix will either need to outbid such rivals or find a way to share content with others. Is there a chance of rivals rolling over, or allowing content distributors to do so? Probably on the day hell's first permafrost patch sets.
That means Netflix is currently generating lots of sentiment like that below.
Shows I was watching in America on Netflix I can't continue in London because there not available here and that makes me extremely sad 😩— Fatima N (@OhNana_kasse) January 15, 2016
And yes, we're appalled by this. People really need to learn the difference between "they're", "their" and "there" before they Tweet. ®