Netflix has long had access to Marvel IPs through its relationship with Disney, and their acquisition of Millarworld is an insurance against that deal’s end. Source: AP

Netflix to block use of proxies that ‘fool’ country restrictions

NETFLIX has announced plans to prevent subscribers using proxies (such as VPNs) to access content otherwise not available locally through the service.

In a blog post, the company’s vice president of content delivery architecture David Fullagar promised that, in a matter of weeks, subscribers using proxies and unblockers will no longer be able to mask their location, and watch movie and TV shows not available in their home regions.

His statement suggests that company will be employing newer technologies that will put an end to the widespread use of proxies and unblockers.

Fullagar expects that all subscribers will eventually have access to the full library of content. However, till then, he said the company “will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location”.

“Over time, we anticipate being able to do so. For now, given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory,” wrote Fullagar.

The company’s latest announcement has already triggered severe reactions from some of its subscribers:

Until recently, countless subscribers employed proxies and unblockers to access Netflix in countries where it was not available. Even since Netflix’s much-anticipated global expansion earlier this month, many are continuing to use proxies due to concerns over the number of titles available in their country, and possible censorship.

The former is a significant sticking point for many subscribers, since titles licensed (and thus available) in one country may not be available in another.

For example, according to Filmefy, Netflix subscribers in the United States have access to 5,648 movie and TV titles, far more than are available in Asian countries: 1,208 in Japan, 696 in Malaysia, and 651 in Singapore.

Filmefy Netflix chart

As another case in point, a analysis showed that 93% of titles available via a U.S. Netflix subscription are not available via the Philippines version.

Indeed, many subscribers are angry that their subscription fees are not commensurate with the number of titles. For example, the basic subscription fee in Malaysia is RM33 (about US$7.50), compared to US$9.99 in the U.S. So while U.S. subscribers pay about 33 percent more in terms of fees, they have access to over eight times the amount of content.

This disparity in content combined with the upcoming clamp down on proxies is unlikely to sit well with subscribers. Given the abundance of pirated media on the web, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if the latest move will turn would-be subscribers off the move to Netflix.