As Netflix continues to ramp up its global credentials, the video-streaming company is going all out to stop you watching content that’s not officially available in your own region.
Netflix is now available in 190 countries, and with that many of its original shows and exclusive programming are available universally. However, the fragmented nature of global licensing means that the available TV shows and movies on Netflix vary wildly from region to region. And this is why members have often used virtual private networks (VPNs) and other tools to circumvent geo-restricted content. However, the California-based tech company says this will soon be coming to an end.
“In coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are,” said David Fullagar, vice president of content delivery architecture at Netflix, in a blog post.
It’s a somewhat startling announcement, especially given the company has always said it’s immensely difficult to completely cut off access to those who use proxies. Indeed, earlier this week Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said:
We do apply industry standard technologies to limit the use of proxies. Since the goal of the proxy guys is to hide the source it’s not obvious how to make that work well. It’s likely to always be a cat-and-mouse game. [We] continue to rely on blacklists of VPN exit points maintained by companies that make it their job. Once [VPN providers] are on the blacklist, it’s trivial for them to move to a new IP address and evade.
However, Fullager refers to “evolving” measures used to tackle the practice of viewing geo-restricted content. “We employ the same or similar measures other firms do,” he said. “The technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it.”
It will be interesting to see what Netflix has in store, and whether this will affect popular VPN tools such as TunnelBear.