Netflix in mid January announced a new effort to crack down on Netflix proxy or “unblockers,” similar to VPN services, which help users dupe the company’s systems into thinking they’re in a different country and thus access additional content not available where they live.
Netflix’s Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture, David Fullagar, wrote in a blog post “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.”
This news comes almost a year after reports that Netflix was cracking down on those who used VPN services to bypass content restrictions for their geographical locations. Netflix, however, said that was nothing new. “We use industry standard methods to block VPNs. Always have and always will,” aNetflix spokesman said at the time.
In 2013, though, Sony Pictures Television executive Steve Mosko said Netflix does “not closely monitor where some of their subscribers are registering from and don’t take steps to counter circumvention websites that allow people in.”
Pressure from studio heads likely influenced Netflix’s most recent decision. Those studios are less likely persuaded to license their content to Netflix if the company cannot ensure that geographic restrictions will be enforced.
Netflix has now extended its services to 190 countries, but still a long way for the service to offers the same films and TV series everywhere.
The company currently licenses content by geographic regions, meaning the TV shows and movies available on the service vary by region.
“We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere and to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy,” Fullagar wrote. “That’s the goal we will keep pushing towards.” But for now, the company will “continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location.”