If you use a VPN to fool Netflix into thinking you’re in another country, it is increasingly likely that you will see this:
Many people have become frustrated over recent months with Netflix blocking VPNs, or virtual private networks, which allow viewers to see content that wouldn’t otherwise be available in their country. More than 40,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Netflix stop doing this, as it prevents some viewers from being able to watch their favourite content.
Netflix bosses cite the example of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is due to appear on the streaming service, but only in Canada, after a deal with Disney.
“We license a piece of content, like to Canada we have Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and we’re only playing to Canada,” Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s not really fair of us to make it available to the world, without us paying for it.”
Asked whether it was fair that some Netflix content was available in only some countries, Hastings said: “We’re trying to solve the problem by licensing [content] globally”, giving the example of some of the company’s original shows such as The Crown.
Given the importance of these shows, why not reveal the viewing figures to competitors such as linear TV channels, or even to the public? “Mystery and intrigue,” Hastings joked. “Everybody asks about it. Reality is boring and mystery is exciting.”