For years, Netflix dominated the streaming industry. Despite the emergence of several competitors, such as Hulu, Disney+, and many others, Netflix has remained one of the most popular platforms with an extensive library of movies and TV shows. Yet, one of the streaming giant’s most notorious issues is the unavailability of titles in certain regions.
In what follows, we break down why Netflix imposes geo-restrictions on its shows and movies and how you can access your favorite content by using the top VPN for streaming.
Netflix geo-blocks certain content in specific countries for a number of reasons rooted in copyright, market demand, and licensing complexities. First and foremost, Hollywood studios invest vast sums of money into producing and marketing their content. They aim to maximize revenue from each territory to protect their investments and enforce copyright. Different markets have varying demands for specific content, so studios set prices for streaming rights on a country-by-country basis.
Not all content can be licensed globally though. Hence, copyright holders often sell rights to different streaming platforms and TV networks in various countries. Netflix can’t offer a show or movie where it doesn’t hold the rights. They also rely on data mining to gauge user interest, avoiding costly purchases for productions with low demand.
Even Netflix Originals face geo-blocking in some cases. Older Originals, like “Orange Is the New Black,” were sold to third parties in regions where Netflix wasn’t available at the time of release. Despite Netflix’s global reach now, they can’t immediately stream these titles in regions where they no longer own the rights. Acquiring them back can be challenging due to high prices or dwindling interest.
A VPN, short for “virtual private network,” is an effective tool for bypassing Netflix’s geo-restrictions. It works by rerouting your internet connection through a VPN server and encrypting your data to maintain privacy. Unlike a proxy server, a VPN establishes a secure, private tunnel to the internet or another network.
When you connect to a VPN server in a different location—say, Canada while being in the U.S.—, your device assumes an IP address from that region. Since Netflix identifies your device by its IP address, using a VPN tricks Netflix into thinking you’re in the server’s location. As a result, you gain access to movies and TV series that are typically unavailable in your region, effectively circumventing the streaming giant’s content restrictions.
In 2017, Netflix effectively blocked numerous VPN services, leaving users unable to access geo-restricted content.
The platform employs advanced methods to identify VPN usage. Premium VPNs often route multiple users through single servers, utilizing closely related IP addresses to mask identities. However, Netflix can detect patterns of similar IP addresses and promptly ban them, rendering the VPN’s servers ineffective. Some companies even collect VPN IP addresses and sell this data to platforms like Netflix.
Despite Netflix’s efforts to ban VPNs, some premium services still manage to bypass these restrictions. They continuously cycle in new IP addresses, allowing users to access the streaming giant’s content library as if they were in different regions.
As mentioned above, not all VPNs will be able to bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions. If you wish to access titles that are unavailable in your region, you may want to consider investing in a high-quality service, such as NordVPN, which is a long-established and reputable name in the market. Other services like Surfshark, ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, and StrongVPN are effective for unblocking international streaming libraries.
Netflix’s geo-blocking of content and its battle against VPNs underscore the complex landscape of digital streaming. While content licensing, market demands, and copyright agreements influence geo-restrictions, premium VPNs offer users a means to navigate these barriers and access a broader range of Netflix’s global library.
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