How Do Geoblocking And Other Regionalisation Tactics Complicate Netflix’s Status As Global Media?

How do geoblocking and other regionalisation tactics complicate Netflix’s status as global media?

Introduce Netflix, concepts, frameworks, why is it declaring itself global media.? Focus: Dialectical relationship between the global and the local in digital media streaming services – and netflix’ operation as a company. Free Access vs. Regulations. Consumer content vs. Copyright legislation. Business interests vs. User/Local Interests. What are the aims of global media utopianism, what does Netflix claim? 500 ish words.
BUT – this is complicated by – 
Geoblocking, VPN’s and regionalisation – how can you provide content for the entire globe that is applicable and relevant to the entire globe? Different cultural practices, interests etc – result in tailoring of content for particular areas.
Location services, adapting of software to block VPN’s, working with ISP’s.
Copyright vs. free and equal content access.

COPYRIGHT LAWS, LICENSING DEALS, and the user who just wants to watch G.O.T.
Community wants content in real time – but traditional laws struggle to adapt to this.
Regional content in a globalised world.
1200 ish words

THE NETFLIX BUSINESS MODEL –corporate and commercial interests that are attempting to fit within copyright legislation based on the traditional model of media content consumption and sharing services. Streaming upsets the apple cart/ the entertainment industry’s profit structure by giving people access to content when and where they want, for a fraction of the price, and in their control – rather than watching what the networks dictate they watch. How do businesses like Netflix maintain relevance in this era? Through creating their own content – they are marketing for a predominantly western audience and this is evident in the programs they test, commission and run. Their tailored structure, whilst it cant be viewed as exclusive and skewed towards the western world, is put in place in order to offer all audiences content that is fresh and relevant to their own market and culture. However, it is when popular culture makes a particular program relevant across the globe, yet Netflix restricts access to certain markets, that this strategy is flawed – how can a media service be classified as global, and having global aims, if all its users don’t have free and equal access to equal content distribution? It is easy to blame Netflix for this problem – however, the roadblock in the way remains static copyright legislation and licensing regions, which struggle to adapt to the dynamic media environment and sharing cultures of 2016.

The dialectic of laws made in analogue times, attempting to be applied in a digital reality is catching up with the realm of rapidly expanding technologies and capabilities. People want more content, more frequently, in larger amounts and with the easiest means of access possible. They want it on-demand, in real time, and they don’t want to be behind any one else in the world when they watch it.

Complications of the dialectic between connected and disconnected – is Netflix really global if the world can’t access it? Why is USA Netflix different ? what are the downsides of this. Utopian views of Netflix as the first “global” multimedia organisation can be dismantled when analysing the limitations that geoblocking and regionalisation tactics have on its accessibility and use worldwide.


“Indeed, all Netflix is doing is lifting a restriction that they instituted in the first place. From a technical perspective, streaming Jessica Jones over the Web to Auckland, New Zealand, isn’t any more difficult than streaming it to Los Angeles, California. That’s the whole point of the World Wide Web, and of the Internet as a whole: to be a decentralized network where any node in the system can access any other.” (Chu 2016)

Netflix has to take extra steps—steps that cost money and resources—to determine, based on your IP address, what part of the world your computer is in and block you from downloading their content if you’re in the wrong place. This is still the case, even after they’ve “gone global”—Israelis still can’t watch Orange is the New Black, Singaporeans can’t watch House of Cards, and only Canadians get early access to a streaming version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Ironically, for people who were already tech-savvy enough to watch Netflix overseas, Netflix going global will actually make it harderfor Israelis to watch Orange is the New Black. Netflix preceded their New Year’s announcement of going global by, over Christmas weekend, quietly taking steps to make VPNs harder to use on their service, presumably to increase the incentive for people to sign up for legitimate overseas Netflix accounts.

In other words, content that was in all practical terms readily available for anyone who knew how to get it will now actually be harder for some people to get” (Chu 2016).

“It’s an interesting situation. As long as traditional distribution continues to exist alongside Internet distribution, distributors have a legitimate incentive to control the latter—DVD region-locking started because distributors didn’t want the DVD of a Hollywood movie to be available in Europe when that movie was still just opening up in European cinemas.

Similarly, the rights to distribute Orange Is the New Black in Israel are theoretically worth something; if they become worthless because everyone in Israel is streaming Orange is the New Black through a VPN anyway, then the creators have, theoretically, lost money. (How much money they’ve really lost is up for debate, just like the debate over how much revenue artists really lose due to piracy.)” (Chu 2016)

“It’s a situation that simply feels intrinsically perverse, and can’t be enforced without the creepy situation of giving the corporations that sell you music control over the computer you own. It leads to endless ideological battles over what “owning” information even means in the first place and what the moral obligation to pay for your entertainment really is.” (Chu 2016)

INTRINSICALLY, the complications regarding Netflix going global are predominantly, business driven. The ongoing debate between what rights to consume media content the user has, versus the rights of the company who owns it.


Law vs. creative content access

“We say very specifically that VPNs violate the terms of our service, and we believe very much so that anybody who licenses content should get paid for their content,” he said. “We hear a lot in every market about this, and what we tend to find too is that, after launch, these issues drop significantly.” (Reilly, 2015)

“Netflix said it expects to add 2.5 million subscribers globally in the June quarter – 500,000 of them in the US, which is in line with previous quarters; but just 2 million in “international” markets –  down from 2.4 million a year earlier. “(McDuling, 2016)

THE PLATEAU OF SUCCESS – what is the next move? Are we bored as consumers ? Will the slowed market allow for the potential of other more locally based services to catch up and slowly infiltrate the previous market domination of Netflix in streaming services?

“So there it is: Australians (and New Zealanders) love Netflix, it’s just that a lot of us have already signed up to the service. Or to put it another way, Netflix’s Australian launch last year went so well, it’s finding it hard to replicate that growth here or in other international markets. “(McDuling, 2016).

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