Netflix winning against unblocking services?

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 17, 2016
Music and Video

Netflix appears to be winning the fight against so-called unblocking services and VPN services that allow Internet users to access Netflix in different geographical regions.

Netflix's catalog of shows and movies is quite different from region to region. While all customer gain access to most of Netflix's originals series and productions, things are not equal when it comes to licensed shows and movies.

The US tops the list with about 5600 TV shows and movies, while other countries may get a fraction of that for roughly the same price for a subscription.

Customers could use unblocking services or VPN services to access Netflix's US offerings in the past. These services were sometimes the only option to access content not available in a region.

The company announced in February however that it would start blocking these services.

Customers who were able to access contents from other regions before February, suddenly found themselves in a situation where access was limited to their own region's offerings.

Most unblocking services made the decision to put up a fight of their own by adding new IP ranges, servers or entire networks to their services, or find new methods of defeating Netflix's protective measures.

This resulted in a cat and mouse game for some time, with customers on the receiving end of the fight as access worked temporarily only. This hit customers hard who paid for a service in advance as they could not use it anymore.

A new report by CBC suggests that many unblocking services have given up. The article mentions UFlix, Unblock-US and UnoTelly in particular. All advertised with unblocking Netflix access previously, but have pulled Netflix from their sites and are no longer advertising that customers can unblock Netflix.

This does not mean that all unblocking services or VPN services are not working anymore. It appears however that any access one may have at one time may be temporary at best as Netflix might put an end to that at any time.

Customers are in control

While Netflix may have won the fight against many unblocking services, it is not clear if it has won the whole battle. It is unclear if Netflix's decision resulted in lost business, but it seems likely that the company lost some customers in the process.

This may be true especially for regions where Netflix's offering is sub-par, especially when compared to what's available in the US. The company may also have lost customers who travel abroad regularly. Netflix customers from the US who visit another country for instance get the offerings of that country instead of the shows and movies they can stream at home.

There is little that Netflix can do to convince customers that it is fair to charge them the same price as customers in the US if they only get a fifth or even less of the catalog with their subscription.

As far as proxy services are concerned, there are still some that work at the time of writing. There is also the possibility that a service will come up with a new method of providing customers with access to Netflix content from other regions that Netflix cannot possibly stop.

One solution might be to utilize customer IP addresses for that, but it remains to be seen how effective that would be and if customers of the service would put up with that.

However, the situation is dire for most Netflix customers who relied on unblockers to access Netflix content offered only in other regions. Will those customers cancel their subscription? Only time will tell.

Now You: are you affected by Netflix's fight against unblocking services?

Netflix winning against unblocking services?
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Netflix winning against unblocking services?
Has Netflix won its battle against so-called unblocking services (proxy services or VPNs)? Several proxy services have given up.
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  1. Megash17 said on October 18, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    @Wayfarer… Cool Down.
    It could be useful to know exactly how Netflix got all these “smart” users.

    1. Wayfarer said on October 19, 2016 at 12:24 am

      Very cool, thanks all the same. Especially about trash American media…. ;o)

  2. Mike said on October 18, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    It’s really frustrating trying to maintain some security on open WiFi networks then being blocked by Netflix because I’m routed through a VPN provider.

  3. AAA said on October 18, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Hehe. Maybe winning against those who don’t know how to get around it? :)
    I, for one, still watching US Netflix while sitting in Canada–because Netflix Canada selection sucks! :D

  4. Heimen Stoffels said on October 18, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Well, here in the Netherlands the situation is a bit awkward. Netflix excels with some series while it falls behind with others. For example, Comedy Central here hasn’t ever aired season 8 and 9 of How I Met Your Mother (not even in the current re-runs!) despite it being a popular series even in the re-runs while Netflix does have 8 and 9. But with Modern Family, Comedy Central is up-to-date with all of the seasons (except for 7 which has yet to start airing in a couple of weeks) while Netflix is a few seasons behind.
    Netflix also fails to add some series that are also popular here, for example Community or Mythbusters. But they do add little-known stand-up comedians (even little-known Dutch ones!) or movies that got bad ratings even before Netflix added them.

    I love Netflix and love paying for it but they should improve their offerings. Why not just add them without subtitles at first? A lot of Dutch people don’t care all that much about subtitles for popular series (which is why they stream them illegally on their computers/tablets) so they can just add subtitles later on. That would increase the offering by a lot.

  5. Dan82 said on October 18, 2016 at 1:10 am

    It is a LOT easier to identify and block IP addresses belonging to a certain company, than to open up new ranges. That’s just not a very economical business when you think about it, which is the reason why many VPN service providers stopped bothering with Netflix once the company decided to fight foreign access masked by proxy-connections. I’m sure that some servers of some companies will work for a time, until Netflix gets them too, but as you said in your article, the war is already lost.

  6. Parker Lewis said on October 18, 2016 at 1:01 am

    It’s okay. Should the US not want to flood the world with their media any more, they’d be the ones to lose most.

  7. Wayfarer said on October 18, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Who cares? Crap Hollywood movies. Mindless TV. Do people REALLY pay for this rubbish? Or struggle to access it even for free???

    For heaven’s sake! I love my computer(s). Have done since they output on punched tape. But there have to be better uses than bottom-of-the-barrel media entertainment.

    Buy (better still adopt) a dog and go for a walk. You can still listen to good music while you do it – you might even meet people and talk to them (live, not via social media – it is technically viable.) You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it years ago.

    1. Some dude said on October 18, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      This guy right here, he knows whats up. Netflix is only good for smoking weed and smashing pussy.

    2. Honestly said on October 18, 2016 at 6:45 am

      Eleven thumbs up. But from my experience don’t expect to get a lot of approval. Meeting real people, having a meaningful conversation or adopting a dog and going for a walk ? Are you crazy ? The sky could fall on our heads or they miss the latest gossip on Twitter or Bacefook. Honestly man, you have to get your priorities right. :)

  8. stefer09 said on October 17, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    I stopped using Unotelly because all of a sudden my internet speeds dropped by quite a bit. I was paying for 250mbit and i was barely getting 5-10mbit. I was switching to my ISP’s DNS, or Google’s, or Opendns, and bam! 250+mbit back again.

    It was during the time when the cat and mouse game started…

    Oh well!

    I left Unotelly. I kept Netflix because it’s the best way to watch some of the Netflix only shows, like Orange is the new black, or the Marvel shows.

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