Tensions seem to be rising between Netflix and it’s Canadian subscribers once again as more people using various VPN services attempt to trick Netflix into thinking they are watching from within the US only to find out first-hand that the streaming service wasn’t bluffing about cracking down on cross-boarder streaming.
Netflix streaming service offers each of its roughly 190 markets different volumes and types of programming based on region-exclusive content licensing agreements and with that in mind, Canadian Netflix users currently have access to approximately 4,000 movies and shows, while nearly 7,000 titles are available to subscribers in the U.S. That is almost double the content. Therefore, many years Canadians have been using, without recourse, services that provide virtual private networks, proxies or unblocking services to trick Netflix into thinking they’re in a different country than they’re actually in. And for many Canadians who have been availing of these services (many of the more reliable services do cost about 5 or 10 dollars per month) they could ultimately have access to much more TV programming. At the moment, it looks like Netflix has taken steps to prevent many people from using these services.
So, how did they achieve this? Netflix used to check for static or non-changing IP addresses in their geo-blocking checks. And so, if you are wondering what an IP address is? It’s like a phone number that every device has to have in order to connect to the Internet. Therefore, if you were connecting to a service that would conceal or change your IP before you actually got on the Internet then that proxy or VPN services could easily bypass these checks done by Netflix by changing your IP address to one that was only used in the US essentially tricking Netflix into thinking you were watching from within the US. But, it now looks like Netflix recently updated its geo-blocking detection methods and now is able to detect the change in your IP address.
Does this mean an end for everyone using these types of IP blocking or hiding services? I highly doubt it; maybe a slight disruption. Anticipate it turning into a cat-and-mouse situation whereby Netflix will implement new technologies to reduce the cross-boarder streaming until a time when the proxy or VPN services figures a way around it.
Are Canadians then justified in their criticisms? It really all comes down to region-exclusive content licensing agreements. Much like you see on the Apple store where some content is US-only. Amazon and Hulu are other very popular media streaming services that only offer services to specific regions and so what Netflix is doing is nothing new. With that in mind, I do think with the recent news of Netflix increasing their monthly prices and the changes in their plan structure it might further facilitate the trend of cross-boarder streaming.
Complex News – Netflix Wants to Remove International Binge-Watching Borders