There is a lot of talk online at the moment about Netflix putting a little more effort into tracking down the geo-dodgers. What does that mean though?
Many people, certainly here in Australia, use either a VPN or a DNS service to be able to access Netflix in the US.
What these services do is fool Netflix into thinking the user is based in the US when they are actually here in Australia. Or maybe the UK or anywhere in the world.
Why would people do this when the UK and now Australia have their own Netflix? Because Netflix US, UK and Australia are all different. Each service offers different content according to the availability of licensing in each country.
US Netflix is easily superior, my understanding is that it has well over 5000 titles, some sources suggest it could be much more than that. Netflix in Australia has closer to 2000, the UK about 3000. Whatever the actual numbers, there is no doubt that Netflix US offers the widest choice and that’s why many people here in Australia access it using some kind of computer trickery.
Many Australians are unhappy about the possibility of being cut off from Netflix US, after all, why should they have over 2 1/2 times the amount of content that we get when we have to pay the about the same amount of money each month. Some are so angry they have gone online to tweet or twitter, whatever it is, that they will…
An argument against geo-dodging
Today though I am going to offer one reason, just one reason, why accessing Netflix in the US from Australia is not such a good idea. I’m going to show you two videos now, both are Netflix productions, although due to copyright restrictions, I can only show you the official Netflix trailers for each.
I’ll start with a trailer for the first ever Netflix Australia production. The full movie lasts for one hour and it went straight in at number one on Christmas Day. Grab your popcorn and check it out…
As you know, Australia has been through a bit of a heatwave over the festive season, so this was ideal viewing for Christmas Day. Any Australians using their canny VPN or DNS service to access Netflix US over the hot Christmas period would have been stuck with this…
On the plus side, they would have had over 3000 more titles to choose from when they sat down to watch the box in the evening.
“We are happy to pay, but nobody will sell it to us.”
Precisely. More than ever, we are one world now with the internet. Rather than before where we were split up geographically and were content to wait, because we barely knew about these other TV shows, it’s all to easy to go online and find out the latest news about shows we wouldn’t get for months, years, or perhaps not at all. Plus then it’s easy still to get said shows.
It will change though, and quite quickly I think. When the money men realise how much they are losing by making us wait, they’ll work out a way to sell it to us when we want it.
Netflix has more content in the US because more content is made in the US – the amount made in Australia and the UK quite tiny by comparison, and Americans generally tend to get things first – as they should, being the ones who made it.
However, the ways we watch TV now are changing. In our busier, connected lives, we like to be able to watch whatever we want, whenever we want. And now, whenever we hear about the latest, greatest TV show that’s airing in America, we think “oh, when will I be able to watch that?”, look in our TV guides and in some cases not be able to find it for weeks, months, or at all.
Two quick cases – Agents Of SHIELD. The third season started in September in America, and starts here in the UK this week. In the middle of the day, so it’ll be severely cut. Person Of Interest – love this show, season 5 due to start soon-ish in America. Here in the UK, season 4 hasn’t started yet and it’s had rubbish treatment, being aired late at night and with some episodes inexplicably removed.
There are some better cases – The Walking Dead more or less keeps up with America, for instance.
(by the way, I’m talking about broadcast TV, not Netflix)
In terms of Netflix itself (and other similar services), it is all about money. Chances are that the programme-makers want to see if they’ll get more money from regular TV broadcasters, rather than put stuff up on Netflix. Plus, I’m unsure whether Netflix (at least here in the UK) gets much stuff that hasn’t already aired on regular TV channels.
It’s not just about when but what. Of your first two examples one isn’t available anywhere but USA on Netflix (AoS) and one has one season in the UK, none in Australia and four in USA (PoI). That said, Australia and UK both have Myth Busters which USA doesn’t anymore because Discovery wants to make their own service, but the UK have some early-middle episodes while Australia have middle-late episodes.
… I watch quite a bit of Netflix and jump around quite a bit geographically… because the Danish selection is rubbish.
This is the very reason piracy and geo-dodging is rife in Australia, because we see other countries getting access to programs not yet released here. We are happy to pay, but nobody will sell it to us.
Unfortunately for the people who pull the strings, they can’t stop piracy and they can’t stop geo-blocking. For that reason, it will have to level out at some point, otherwise the piracy and Netflix hopping will continue. And why not?