back to article The Day Netflix Blocked My VPN is the world's new most-hated show

Netflix has announced it will clamp down on users who access it through virtual private networks (VPNs). Or as the company puts it, in a masterpiece of Orwellian PR-talk, “Evolving Proxy Detection as a Global Service”. David Fullagar, Netflix's veep of Content Delivery Architecture, explains that the company can't yet secure …

  1. Snow Wombat
    Pirate

    Whelp...

    Time to hoist the black flag, and return to the seas of piracy!

    Yaarrr!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whelp...

      Needs must...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whelp...

      Isn't this something the EU have said they want to stop though, so people don't have to put up with Geo-blocking?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Whelp...

        Isn't this something the EU have said they want to stop though, so people don't have to put up with Geo-blocking?

        Yes, but that will be for the EU only.

        Netflix is being pushed to this by the rights holders. It just has to come up with something that looks to be doing a good enough job. But to be honest trying to play whack-a-mole with commercial VPN proxy services, who have a financial incentive to stay one step ahead, looks pretty unwinnable. Digital content is eminently fungible and the internet has been well designed to work around blocks. At some point this is going to put an end to exclusive licences.

        However, my biggest gripe with all the new streaming services is: why do I have to register to be able to see the catalogue?

        1. Alumoi
          Devil

          Re: Whelp...

          Why? Do you need to ask why? So we can bill you at the end of the free month when we'll mistakenly forget to acknowledge your cancellation.

          All this, of course, for your convenience.

  2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Netflix

    The Uber of streaming...

    (I mean that in a bad way...)

  3. DougS Silver badge

    I wonder how

    If I used a VPN with an endpoint in Australia, how would they know I'm connecting from the US? Ping times? If so, that will be a problem for people on satellite internet. For VPN services they could just block them outright, but what if I owned a house in the US and overseas and had my wireless routers running OpenVPN to connect them? How exactly are they supposed to figure this out?

    If they've solved this problem, maybe for an encore they can solve the problem of people sharing Netflix passwords, which other than limiting streams I'm not sure how they manage. That seems like a much bigger drag on Netflix's revenue than people who are watching content out of region by using a VPN.

    1. Daniel Voyce

      Re: I wonder how

      They will most likely do what HULU has done and play whackamole with VPN IP ranges causing loads of legitimate people to be locked out as they inevitably mess it up

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder how

        I used to stream Hulu through OpenVPN running in a Linode VPS in a Newark, NJ data center to my home in central NJ with Verizon FiOS. Why? Because it magically stopped the insufferable buffering. I didn't care why, although I had my theories. Then Hulu whacked my mole. No more Hulu. No more payments to Hulu.

        As I used to say to my satellite and then cable-TV providers: "It's just freakin' television!"

    2. as2003

      Re: I wonder how

      I wonder too.

      If they begin blocking known VPN endpoints, that'll only be partially successful because I can still VPN to my brother's apartment in Manhattan. And existing commercial solutions will inevitably adapt too.

      Locking the catalogue to the country the account is registered to would be the other option, but what happens when you then travel abroad?

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: I wonder how

        " that'll only be partially successful because I can still VPN to my brother's apartment in Manhattan"

        ...only until he figures out why he suddenly can't watch Youtube in HD without stuttering anymore.

      2. Steven Roper

        Re: I wonder how

        There are other ways of detecting VPNs and proxies than playing whack-a-mole with IP addresses.

        1) Many will strip out the user-agent string on a HTTP request, meaning that while some browsers can be set to do this themselves, most people won't bother and so the vast majority of stripped user-agent strings substantially indicate that request is coming from an anonymisation service.

        2) It's trivial to geolocate IP addresses. An account registered in country A that accesses the service from an IP in country A then a few minutes later from country B, is an account that has either been shared with someone else (generally a ToS violation in itself) or has switched to using a proxy or VPN in country B.

        3) VPNs and proxies tend to distribute each client's traffic randomly over their IP range. So if an account is logged in but making requests from multiple IP addresses in a given range over a short time frame, and if multiple accounts are also making requests from the same set of IP addresses at the same time, there's a good chance that that IP range belongs to a commercial VPN or proxy provider. ISPs, while they do rotate their customers over dynamic IP addresses, tend to cycle them at a much slower rate than VPNs and proxies.

        Individually these traits don't necessarily indicate a proxy/VPN, but some half-decent analytics software that looks for cluster behaviours exhibiting several of these sorts of traits must be able to pinpoint VPNs and proxies with a high degree of accuracy and in real time - quickly enough that commercial VPN providers won't be able to evade it by switching IP ranges hoping to play whack-a-mole.

        This has dire implications for freedom and censorship avoidance, because once it becomes widely possible to reliably block VPNs and proxies, thereby rendering them useless for general internet use, you can bet this detection technique will be abused to sniff out dissidents and whistleblowers, and enforce tracking, spying and profiling, not just to thwart copyright geo-dodgers.

        The first harbinger of this dangerous trend was first evinced years ago, in 4chan's uncanny ability to detect and block anyone using a VPN or proxy even back in 2008; and the end it inevitably leads to is that blocking them will become pro-forma for every major website that seeks to monitor, track and monetise its traffic. Expect proxy-blocking to soon become the norm at all your favourite news, social media and tech sites, as well as media streamers.

        1. Displacement Activity

          Re: I wonder how

          There are other ways of detecting VPNs and proxies than playing whack-a-mole with IP addresses.

          Some of these arguments don't really hold up. Geolocating isn't an issue, because (a) IPV4 addresses are scarce and are sold on, and it's not unusual to find IP addresses that trace to, for example, China where the block itself is registered in the US (though, granted, traceroute will do the job, but I believe that geolocation is normally done through registration and not tracing), and (b) the cheap proxy services are all in the US anyway. You can get a proxy in the US for less than a dollar a month per IP address, and this is where I'd start if I was connecting to Netflix.

          On the user agent, I always put a plausible user agent in my (cURL) scraper, and I bet everyone else does. And a plausible referer, and cookies, and everything else.

          I wouldn't expect a commerical proxy service to distribute my traffic over the IP addresses I've paid for. I connect to address X, and expect my outgoing traffic to come from address X. If you're right, then that provider doesn't understand anonymous proxying. I automatically test a proxy before using it live and this is easily detected.

          But, at the end of day, I agree that you're vulnerable because you have to log in with a Netflix account, and all they have to do is log all the IP addresses on that account. Your best hope is to go through one clean/paid-for US proxy and hope that you don't have to change the address too often. Or you could get a life and stop watching Netflix.

    3. lime

      Re: I wonder how

      I believe they just block the IP ranges of known VPNs. If you have your own OpenVPN/other connection, you are probably fine. They may block IP ranges of VM hosts as well if it becomes noisy enough.

      From the looks of it, Netflix themselves don't really care. They're still getting your money. It's more that they have to be seen to be doing something.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: I wonder how

        believe they just block the IP ranges of known VPNs. If you have your own OpenVPN/other connection, you are probably fine. They may block IP ranges of VM hosts as well if it becomes noisy enough.

        If you have a contact with decent DSL in the target country then a pair of Raspberry Pis and OpenVPN is cheap and almost trivially simple to setup, and it's difficult to detect.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder how

          Almost exactly the set up I use, I have a VPN set up on my Synology box in the UK, my friend in the US has a Pi with OpenVPN and we reciprocate the deal :D

    4. adfh

      Well...

      * What language settings does your computer use? en-AU? en-GB? en?

      * What are your date format preferences? mm/dd/yyyy? yyyy-mm-dd? dd/mm/yyyy?

      * What time of day/timezone is your computer set to?

      * Have you ever visited their site without going through a proxy from a different geolocated IP?

      * What's the turnover of accounts on a given IP?

      * What was the nationality of the payment source? BIN/IIN?

    5. Andy 97

      Re: I wonder how

      A friend of mine who works for a "large content producer" demonstrated a new service they're about to launch. It will detect and defeat most VPN without needing to continually do the IP range cat and mouse.

      I see Netflix having some share price warnings next quarter.

  4. Rattus Rattus

    The abridged form of the announcement:

    "Netflix are working hard to increase piracy levels around the world."

    1. Lusty Silver badge

      Re: The abridged form of the announcement:

      Actually it's the content owners doing this. Netflix are just a (quite big) reseller. If you want to complain it's no good talking to Netflix as they can't do anything until they are in a powerful monopoly position when they would be able to dictate terms. Local competition is ironically harming this process.

      1. Grikath Silver badge

        Re: The abridged form of the announcement:

        This.. Their arm is being twisted as well.

        Mind, the general result of it will still be that the Industry will quickly lose whatever headway they made into shifting content piracy (no income, lot of hassle) to rented streams which offer a way tot dodge their artificial barricades ( generating income, far less hassle).

        Ah well, same old...

  5. Knoydart

    Playing to the stands

    Quite possibly Netflix are playing to their content suppliers, who obviously want to keep content in regional silos for as long as possible. If the game of whack a mole on the VPN route is not too fast, then Netflix only annoy a small customer base but outwardly show they are doing something about the "problem" to their suppliers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This isn't the first time Netflix have said this.

    The question is how big is the problem, does a VPN service really eat into other content providers revenue streams?

    There's only one company that can tell you that and it's Netflix so until they actually talk about the scale of problem I see nothing happening for now.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      I tend to agree with those who noted that Netflix probably is being pressured by those whose wares they sell on. If that is so, it probably is not relevant to ask after the magnitude of the problem. Copyright owners have shown repeatedly that "larger than zero" is enough to send them into a frenzy of lobbying and litigation that goes beyond all reason.

  7. Barry Mahon

    Bugger that, I move about quite a lot, but my Netflix is treated as where I pay the fee..... that is just not fair. Haven't tried for a week or so but it was working over VPN last time.

    BTW, I am delighted that the Reg has commented on there, their, they're, etc. It irritates the hell out of me, but don't want to be seen as a fussy old bugger. Thanks Reg. However, as someone who lives ina lot of places where English is not the local language, it can be a problem. OTOH they don't teach spelling any more, do they?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        RTFM

        Netflix are not denying you access to stuff you've paid for. Here's what you signed up for.

        4.3. You may view a movie or TV show through the Netflix service primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such movie or TV show. The content that may be available to watch will vary by geographic location and will change from time to time. The number of devices on which you may simultaneously watch depends on your chosen subscription plan and is specified on the "Your Account" page.

  8. url

    and so ends "Netflix and Chill"

    Do we have to now revert to Amazon Fire?

    Wanna come over to Fire & Chill?

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: and so ends "Netflix and Chill"

      No, it's "Amazon Prime and Commitment" - as you usually pay £79 for the year.

    2. Steven Roper

      Re: and so ends "Netflix and Chill"

      Pirate Bay and Chill?

      KAT and Chill?

      EZTV and Chill?

  9. Paul 129

    Free Trade isn't fair Trade

    We have to compete with the lowest paid globally for work. Yet we aren't allowed to buy in a similar manner.

    Ban Geoblocking

    1. Steven Roper
      Pint

      Re: Free Trade isn't fair Trade

      This, a million times this. Since I can't give you a million upvotes have a beer instead.

      Here in Australia we've had high street retailers endlessly bitching and moaning about people here buying stuff online direct form China - but where do you think they get their overpriced tat manufactured?

      They whine about not being able to compete because they have to charge GST and overseas sellers don't. But GST is only 10%, while their markup on Chinese prices is closer to 500-600%. GST has fuck-all to do with it.

      Oh yeah, outsourcing is fine for Big Business but not for us.

      Fucking hypocrites, all of them. We need a revolution to hale these greedy two-faced cunts to the gutter where they belong.

  10. James 51 Silver badge

    So if I am in the UK and the VPN server I am using is in the UK, Netflix are going to take it upon themselves to prevent me from accessing the service I have paid for until I drop the VPN built into my router? Bound to be away around this (pirate bay springs to mind but I don't mind paying for stuff, just bloody annoying when companies attack their customers like this).

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Attacking their Customers

      "So if I am in the UK and the VPN server I am using is in the UK, Netflix are going to take it upon themselves to prevent me from accessing the service I have paid for until I drop the VPN built into my router"

      Yes, because they need to assure themselves that you are meeting the terms of service. They are not attacking their customers; the rights to media are country specific and to comply, and protect their business, they need to know where users are.

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Re: Attacking their Customers

        It should be simple enough for Netflix to compare the billing address with the country the IP is in. If they match what is the problem? VPNs allow you to have an IP just about anywhere but it's a lot harder to get credit cards with billing addresses in various countries to match them.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Attacking their Customers

          It should be simple enough for Netflix to compare the billing address with the country the IP is in. If they match what is the problem?

          Travelling? Foreign secondment for a few weeks / months?

          There's many legitimate reasons why your current ip may not belong to the country you registered in.

          1. James 51 Silver badge

            Re: Attacking their Customers

            I agree. When I go on holiday I am having to constantly explain why to my son why he can't watch octonaughts (different service, same problem). My billing details and the version of the site I am accessing are in the UK but while my IP is in France I’ll let them have a fig leaf of a defence for blocking. I don’t agree with it but I’ll concede they have to be seen to make the effort. But this will block me from accessing content paid for from UK accounts, accessing the UK version of the site while I am in the UK and using a UK based VPN. I should be able to access it every where but I can’t see that happening soon.

        2. Hans 1 Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Attacking their Customers

          They should use billing address, basta!

          1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

            Re: Attacking their Customers

            You have only paid to watch films for which Netflix has the rights in the territory in which you are physically located. To meet their obligations to the rights holders, Netflix has to know where you are. The billing address only tells them where you live. Punto, e basta.

        3. Moonunit

          Re: Attacking their Customers

          Fair comment, though I can't be the only one with family & friends just about everywhere except the Middle and Far East ... ;-)

    2. Steven Roper

      "Bound to be away around this (pirate bay springs to mind but I don't mind paying for stuff, just bloody annoying when companies attack their customers like this)."

      If you want to support the content creators then keep your Netflix subscription going, because part of that money goes to the creators anyway. But since you're paying for it you can now torrent the shows you want with a clean conscience, knowing you are still supporting the creators!

  11. Richard 81

    "Fullagar's post ends with Netflix's earnest hopes that it can one day provide a consistent content catalog for the world."

    ...well why don't they do that first?

    Here's the stick; we hope to maybe think about providing a carrot at a later date.

  12. Mediagag

    Netflix won't block

    Imagine all the users worldwide that used services like Mediahint to watch Netflix US., got accustomed to that programming and then get blocked (rather their unblocking blocked). Their user experience will be nasty at best and the shows they wanted to watch will be gone. Not going to happen long term. This is likely a slap on the wrist and will wane away.

  13. scubaal

    its not about their revenue

    its not about their (Netflix's) revenue

    its about content licensing

    probably getting to the point where regional content owners (think Foxtel in Oz) are going to take on (sue) Netflix for 'knowingly supporting infringement' or some such lawyerish gobbledegook.

    at the end of the day problem falls out of regional content licensing model

    cant see that changing as the content providers (studios) love it

    meanwhile back to pirate feeds for everyone else

    1. Alan Bourke

      Re: its not about their revenue

      This.

      They are being leaned on by Big Media - I'm sure Netflix would rather not do this.

      Yes providers love geoblocking. Decide how much gouging a market will support and tailor pricing based on that.

  14. melodicminor

    Last millenia distribution deals are whats driving piracy

    I don't blame Netflix, even though if they were to do this, and if I were a customer, I would surely leave, as the AU catalog is largely bare or uninteresting compared to US/UK/CAN eyes only content.

    The bigger problem here is geographic exclusive rights agreements which are the product of a time long gone when we still used spools of tape to timeshift. Much has happened since then but even now I don't think most big content creators get it.

    If exclusive deals are gone, more people licence the content far cheeper - so more and more TV networks can maintain profitability in the age when falling ad revenues and increasing prices for exclusive content are making the industry marginal at best. First win - Terrestrial TV gets a reprive from its inevitable end.

    Content creators get the same if not more money from the 'pile it high, sell it cheap' approach.

    More importantly, the new players like Netflix / Amazon Prime 'et al' get to compete on original content they create, and the quality of their offering from an ease of use / customer service perspective, rather than who had more money to give Mr Murdoch, or compete with him for the rights to show the content.

    Lastly, if reducing piracy is the goal, ubiquitous affordable access for all globally is the only option that will put a stop to people turning to torrents because content is either delayed excessively, exclusive to Pay TV or otherwise not available. Plus, its ad free!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are IPv6 addresses Geolocatable?

    I think this could be an interesting avenue for bespoiling their fun...

    1. gnarlymarley

      Re: Are IPv6 addresses Geolocatable?

      Yeah, mine is found in the GeoLocation databases. But this might be a good catch for VPNs as they would be able to offer a unique IPv6 address for each customer and therefore, it should be harder to detect instead of the one single IPv4 address that V4 VPNs use.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it makes people extremely sad?

    I can't think about the depth of their loss when they have to say good-bye to their beloved ones...

  17. wolfetone Silver badge

    You're Going To Block My VPN, Netflix?

    Well, I'll just have to block the £5.99 a month I pay for your service then. Trust me, I can last a lot longer not watching Netflix than you can without my money.

    1. src

      Re: You're Going To Block My VPN, Netflix?

      NetFlix have a lot of people paying for their service. Your £5.99 is not going to make much difference. Just started subscribing here in Japan. Better than watching Japanese telly. Apart from http://www.k-marumie.com/katsusayu/ of course...

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: You're Going To Block My VPN, Netflix?

        True, but I won't be the only one taking my money elsewhere. They can't live on air and good will forever.

  18. King Jack
    Facepalm

    No wininng

    Hollywood (lawyers) cry that people downloading are killing the industry. People try their hardest to pay for entertainment. Hollywood's answer: cut off people willing to pay and direct them back to downloads, where the whole file appears in minutes in HD and is yours to keep forever, plays on any device anywhere. When revenues dip they blame piracy. And to those who claim nobody is entitled to watch what they want when they want. The world is one place. Social media has shrunk the world, when something happens it happens everywhere today. People want to talk and be involved. It is no good joining a conversation 6 months late. Geoblocking is doomed to fail. It stopped me buying DVDs in the day and will stop me paying for streaming services. I'll use other means.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No wininng

      Install Kodi (XBMC) and a few appropriate plugins, and you've got yourself a media steaming device, full of the latest TV and Movies, all at 720p or 1080p (even some 4k channels now), none of it geo locked, and all for free (other than the device you need to install Kodi on).

      I used to run XBMC on an old laptop with the VGA output plugged into the TV. I now have an Intel NUC (1st gen) via HDMI sat under the TV.

  19. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Paris Hilton

    Hmmm...

    Every so often they say this and don't do very much about it. I suspect this is just another paper tiger exercise, simply to keep Hollywood happy.

    Paris - because everyone should have the right not to stream "The Hottie And The Nottie".

  20. TeleC
    Thumb Down

    Thus Ends the Reign of Netflix

    Geoblocking aside, some people need to use VPN purely to escape the bandwidth throttlerape of their ISPs. I only just signed up to Netflix beginning of this week as well... Don't think I will be going past the trial month.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: Thus Ends the Reign of Netflix

      >some people need to use VPN purely to escape the bandwidth throttlerape of their ISPs.

      Please elaborate, if ISP is throttling, why is it not throttling connection to VPN???

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Thus Ends the Reign of Netflix

        > if ISP is throttling, why is it not throttling connection to VPN???

        That's a very good question. I don't understand it either. I just know if I VPNed somewhere -even if it's just from Orlando to Miami - then suddenly YouTube stopped stuttering/buffering and my network bandwidth went from 3-5MB/sec to to 10-15MB/sec. It wasn't protocol specific either, it worked for HTTP, FTP, and bittorrent, Then I changed ISPs.

        I originally noticed this when I started VPNing to work and suddenly things like VoIP worked far better.

        1. Boothy

          Re: Thus Ends the Reign of Netflix

          They could be throttling on traffic type, or by destination.

          Both of which are, as far as I know, hidden by using a VPN. With VPN, the ISP just sees the connection to the VPN servers, they can't see what it's being used for or where the other end of the VPN is being connected to.

          1. Hans 1 Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Thus Ends the Reign of Netflix

            >They could be throttling on traffic type, or by destination.

            What a crap ISP; if that is the case, switch to some other!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Errm...

    You need a Netflix account, that acount is paid from some type of "Bank" account which has an associated client address, it is not rocket science to display content from that addresses region.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Errm...

      The rights to media are licensed by territory. Netflix might have rights to a film in the UK but not in France. If you are in France you are not allowed to watch those films on Netflix, even though you would in the UK. Just knowing where the bill-payer lives doesn't help, because he might be on holiday in France.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Errm...

        they do not get the right to say "you're accessing UK content from in the UK but we don't like the look of your IP address" though and block UK users who have paid just because they want to use a VPN, perfectly legally - and saying "you're in the UK, you're not allowed to show that content even though you've paid for it" was thrown out in the Sky Sports case, so the converse must be true or the law is indeed an ass?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Errm...

          "...or the law is indeed an ass?"

          One guess.

          The law is not here for your benefit.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Mr_Bungle

    My Media Hint account had a pop up message today, informing me they don't expect any issues arising from this announcement, and the geo unblocking will continue on unabated. Guess we'll see, but they seem confident.

    This service has been well worth the couple of quid it costs a month.

  23. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Greed kills

    The problem is the content providers, of course. Netflix must yield to their anachronistic demands to secure the rights to stream their content. Content providers ought to be proud that some of us are willing to go to the trouble to VPN just to see their stuff. Oh, no, they think they can wring another few pennies out of people by selectively offering that stuff. The graveyard of history is littered with the remains of companies that failed to adapt to changes in technology. Maybe MGM, Sony and the rest should start making buggy whips, for example. Idiots.

  24. nilfs2
    Megaphone

    Hey, copyright holders, listen up!!!

    Globalization and technology, have you ever heard of them?

    Bloody 19 century thinkers, I hope they get pirated down to bankruptcy.

  25. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    And so it begins

    From the U.S., no longer able to VPN to Australian Netflix. Still able to reach certain other countries (ssssh). Now watching a movie made in 2007. Why on earth this movie isn't available to stream in the U.S. is a mystery, perhaps only understood by an MBA.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And so it begins

      "perhaps only understood by an MBA."

      Even an MBA wouldn't be that good at BS.

      Try an attorney.

  26. gerdesj Silver badge
    Linux

    Squid

    If using Squid, try the following:

    via off

    forwarded_for off

    follow_x_forwarded_for deny all

    httpd_suppress_version_string on

    That makes it quite hard to detect that a proxy is in use ...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Preventing legal activity - is that legal?

    So Netflix is going to prevent Australians from doing something that their current Prime Minister and ex Communications Minister says is legal?

    http://www.malcolmturnbull.com.au/archive/online-copyright-infringement-faqs#VPN

  28. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Throwing stones in glass houses

    And yes, we're appalled by this. People really need to learn the difference between "they're", "their" and "there" before they Tweet.

    ... or start a sentence with a conjunction when pointing out the flaw in another's post... or use Twitter for that matter.

  29. Uncle Timbo

    The whole Unblock/VPN thing is an artificial solution to an artificial problem.

    In the Old Days (TM), film prints cost a lot of money, so only so many could be printed for a given film. Hence Regions: Limited stock tiered through the regions.

    With digital content, this model is irrelevant - so Movie Studios need to get their fat heads out of the La Brea tar pits and get with the times - once a physical movie has screened past the last region (6?) then just open to flat licensing.

    The more they license, the more viewing fees they take, so they cannot really lose if they license the right way. It's not costing them anything to deliver - that's down to Netflix, Google, Amazon etc.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Unhappy

      "once a physical movie has screened past the last region (6?) then just open to flat licensing."

      But then they lose the huge fees charged to the PPV, sat and cable channels for the right to screen a "premier" over their local competitors, then later the fees paid by the FTA channels who also want an exclusive "premier" over *their* competitors, *for each region.country* before it's allowed to go into a free for all grab bag.

  30. x 7

    "that makes me extremely sad "

    if thats true, then she'll probably commit suicide when her goldfish dies

  31. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    Netflix is under pressure...

    ...from the content owners. As had been pointed out. Otherwise they couldn't give a crap and just want to make money delivering content.

    So far they haven't done anything about me using VPN. But then again, I'm only using it for security reasons most of the time; I happen to live in the U.S. But I'm curious if they'd block me for simply using a known VPN address.

    1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

      Re: Netflix is under pressure...

      What I don't get is that the content owners think they can make more money by not selling their content and by alienating the fans? I guess this is some kind of advanced economics they didn't cover in university.

      1. GrantB

        Re: Netflix is under pressure...

        To be fair, content creators probably do maximise revenue right now by selling regional rights.

        If you produce a hit series like Games of Thrones, then regional operators like Foxtel in Australia or SkyTV in NZ will bid up the prices for exclusive rights to the show.

        Companies like SkyTV here in NZ get away with charging ~$60 per month (for basic set of channels and Soho) for people wanting to watch GoT legally, so can always outbid Netflix for the rights, as they only charge about $10 per month here in comparsion.

        Total revenue from all the regions, with some paying way above the odds to prop up monopoly cable/satellite providers, must beat what Netflix offers as a global deal to content providers.

        Interesting times though; Netflix is getting big enough that they could offer key content providers global offers that they can't turn down, as well as producing their own content as a counter to those who insist on regional rights.

        Balancing act will be that if Netflix gets too big, then they will become a global monopoly and be able to screw down content providers too much.

        I suspect in the long run, local distributors will lose out to global players like Netflix, Amazon and Apple/Google, but pirates and independant content providers selling individual episodes and niche series, will provide alternatives to too much locking.

    2. AnastasiaB

      Re: Netflix is under pressure...

      they are trying to keep a balance between showing Hollywood studios they are doing seriously something about copyrights violation and banning VPN users from the Netflix network and but deep inside they will never ever lose all of Netflix 20% potential subscriber who actually pay for the service to watch movies and other videos.

  32. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  33. AnastasiaB

    Netflix is blocking the subscribers who use a VPN service, even for their security and all this due to the immense pressure from the Hollywood studios and other content providers of Netflix which really are copyright freaks and Netflix has no choice but to listen to them as these are the major content providers of Netflix. But after all Netflix is a business entity and like all other business entities, it is not going to lose all of its 20% of potential customers who uses a VPN service which can add up to a huge loss on its balance sheet. So Netflix currently is just maintaining a balanced face by blocking some of the VPN services, but I am so confident that it is never going to ban all the VPN services on its network as many of the reliable VPN services are still in the game and providing smooth and uninterrupted services to their customers on Netflix.

  34. AdrianH

    Somehow I have never understood the concept of intellectual property rights. On one hand, they make all these TV shows and movies and depend on us to give them good ratings on IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes etc. And then they make sure we end up spending money on EVERYTHING we want ot watch! Doesn't make sense does it? I'm glad I finally subscribed to Ivacy VPN at just the right time and got 87% off on this Black Friday. Couldn't handle all the drama and rhetoric.

  35. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The above step from NETFLIX banning users that are using VPN is a not a good step. Whats wrong in it? If people are using VPN to access a restricted region on the show of their show it will gradually increase the viewership in all. It could be used in so many ways many content could be pushed to people according to their needs. NETFLIX is missing this thing that it is already a huge brand around the globe, banning people from using VPN to access the regions won't do any good to them. There are numerous websites like https://www.bestvpn.co/ which provide vpns with amazing deals. Netflix can cash this also with VPN providers. It just need a different angle to look from. it would be win win situation for them.

  37. David_Michaels

    Banning VPN

    The above step from NETFLIX banning users that are using VPN is a not a good step. Whats wrong in it? If people are using VPN to access a restricted region on the show of their show it will gradually increase the viewership in all. It could be used in so many ways many content could be pushed to people according to their needs. NETFLIX is missing this thing that it is already a huge brand around the globe, banning people from using VPN to access the regions won't do any good to them. There are numerous websites like https://www.bestvpn.co/ which provide vpns with amazing deals. Netflix can cash this also with VPN providers. It just need a different angle to look from. it would be win win situation for them.

  38. Emilly94

    Now Netflix more stronger and smarter than before it AI is recording all the pattern which VPN does while connecting so its becoming more and more difficult to break it.

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