Earlier this year, Netflix pulled the plug on global VPN access following their launch in nearly every country in the world.
The streaming service, while having VPNs listed as a violation of their terms of service, used to leave the use of such services relatively unregulated. This meant that someone in France could easily access the US Netflix library. This wasn’t a problem for Netflix, as it in fact likely brought in more international subscribers who knew they could get access to a movie and TV show library at a global scale.
But content owners, who provide the majority of content to Netflix, clearly wanted Netflix to tighten up on this policy in order to ensure rights’ holders were paid the appropriate licensing fees.
Netflix, who likely risked losing access to a large portion of their third party content, obliged, banning access to all VPN services, limiting subscribers to the content libraries exclusive to their country.
Of course this is a big downgrade for a large portion of subscribers, where some countries have less than 1000 total titles available (read our recent report on the total number of titles in each country).
In order to send Netflix a message that subscribers are unhappy with this new policy, website Open Media created a petition for subscribers to sign. In the past week, the website has seen nearly 50,000 signatures of customers hoping to join in on the message.
Now does Netflix have any power here to respond in a positive way? It seems unlikely that Netflix would be able to change anything about this new policy, as they are under the thumb of major content providers, who are seemingly making the rules here.
Netflix is stuck between a rock and a hard place here, but it will be interesting to see if they respond to such a loud outcry of existing subscribers.
How about you? Do you live in a country where the Netflix library is relatively small? Did you used to use a VPN but now have cancelled your Netflix subscription? Let us know in the comments below.