Netflix aims to put a stop to out-of-country content

KUALA LUMPUR: A week after Netflix became officially available in 130 more countries,
Netflix’s vice-president (Content Delivery Architecture) David Fullagar said in a blog posting that those using proxies and unblockers would only be able to access the service in the country where they reside.

VPNs mask your device’s IP address and location. Unblockers work similarly to get around viewing restrictions stemming from country-specific licensing laws.

Netflix is an American multinational provider of on-demand Internet streaming media based in California.

Online streaming is fast picking up in Malaysia and many are hoping that the clampdown will lead to Netflix opening up its US catalogue to the world as the company has long said it wanted to standardise availability of content.

Housewife Cindy Gan, 49, said: “I read that Netflix is working on making all content available in future.

“Until that day comes, I’ll just download shows if I can’t use a proxy to access the US Netflix.”

Gan has used a VPN to access US content for about a year now.

“The restrictions make it a bit like going into a shop with an exclusive area where you can only look at the products and not buy them,” she added.

Others are sceptical of the company’s ability to enact a full blockade, and think the move may be to please media rights owners.

Dan Clarke, 28, founder and CEO of consultancy firm Disruptient, has been accessing Netflix with a VPN in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Singa­pore, to get US and British content.

“I’m sure that despite Netflix’s statement, it won’t be able to block VPN or proxy access entirely.

“Even the Chinese government is unable to block data leaking via VPN or proxy, so what chance does a private company like Netflix have?” he asked.

“If Netflix is successful in blocking, I’d drop the subscription in a heartbeat.

“It’s time media rights owners stop shooting themselves in the foot with geo-restrictions.

“If you don’t make the content available via legal means then many users will still resort to torrenting,” Clarke added.

Marketing executive Yee Han Lim, 26, uses the Malaysian Netflix version but called for standardisation of content.

“I will consider a VPN as the US content is more extensive. But I believe Netflix will update its catalogue for other regions,” he said.

“While I’m not sure what will happen in the long run, I’m quite satisfied with the selections I have now.”

Netflix announced its global roll-out on Jan 6 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with chief executive Reed Hastings proclaiming the “birth of a new global Internet TV network.”