It is no secret that plenty of Netflix subscribers use a VPN to access content from other countries, mainly the US as it tends to have the most relevant library of content. It is also no shock that Hollywood companies aren’t too happy about this practice, but instead of blocking out VPN users, Netflix wants to remove the need to use one.
Netflix just launched in Australia and while the subscription service is perfectly legal, using a VPN to access content outside of your region technically is not. For movie and TV studios, geographical licensing agreements are a major part of their business but the VPN problem can be easily fixed if companies would offer their content globally without restrictions, according to Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings.
According to Hastings, the use of VPNs is a pretty small-scale issue in the face of proper piracy and is actually very easy to make obsolete: “The VPN thing is a small little asterisk compared to piracy. Piracy is really the problem around the world.”
VPN users are clearly willing to pay, they just can’t to the content they want on locally: “The basic solution is for Netflix to get global and have its content be the same all around the world so there’s no incentive to use a VPN. Then we can work on the more important part which is piracy”.
Lack of availability is often the root cause of VPN use and tradition piracy in some cases. However, it still remains to be seen if traditional media studios will make the switch and begin dealing out licenses globally, rather than keeping things locked down per region.
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KitGuru Says: Geographical restrictions are harder to impose than ever, which isn’t surprising as everyone is connected these days through the internet, if a new TV series is airing in the US for instance, the rest of the world is going to know about it and also want to see it. VPN users are paying customers, if global licenses were the norm, then there would be no need for them other than for privacy and security purposes.