Choice calls for help to defeat Netflix geo-blockade


news Following Netflix’s announcement that it will prevent users accessing its international content via location-masking tools, consumer advocacy group Choice is calling on Australian Internet users to help others find ways around the blockade.

The Netflix announcement was issued soon after the video streaming subscription service expanded to a further 130 countries, providing access to most of the world’s nations. Now just a few countries are excluded from using the service at all, including, notably, China.

However, the company varies the amount and type of content that can be accessed in different countries, in part because it has been under pressure from some content creators to stop users evading geographical licensing restrictions.

Netflix customers have commonly been finding ways to defeat this ‘geo-blocking’, such as VPNs, proxies, and other masking services.

“Many Australian Netflix subscribers will be shocked to find that they’ll be downgraded from accessing US Netflix to the much smaller Australian library – losing out on thousands of titles,” said Matt Levey, Director of Campaigns and Communications at Choice. “Up until now, Australians could shop internationally for content using a simple unblocking service and their Australian account to access Netflix international catalogues.”

“The popularity of Netflix in Australia has a lot to do with its progressive approach to content that allowed consumers to access more of the latest release programs from around the world in a timely manner,” Levey added.

Before it officially launched in Australia, Netflix had built an estimated Australian subscriber base of 340,000 on the strength of its international content offering, the organisation said in a statement. It suggested that, by switching off access to some of its most popular content, Netflix was effectively “baiting consumers before switching them into a less valuable offering”.

“Rather than putting barriers up, it’s time to recognise Internet is global. Regional copyright deals are as outdated as video cassettes. Ultimately, Australians should be able to pay for international services directly rather than be locked into sub-standard local versions,” said Levey.

Choice is now calling for those who know of functioning workarounds to geo-blocking in Australia to share their knowledge at a dedicated web page.

The campaign director pointed out that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously said that it is not illegal for Australians to circumvent geo-blocks. “People are going out of their way, often paying for a VPN service and a Netflix account, to legitimately watch the content they love,” he said.

Levey concluded by saying that Choice will be tracking the development of VPNs and DNS proxy tools in order to help Australians help Australians “keep watching the content they love”.


  1. Exclusive distribution of content should be outlawed. Except if you are the content creator, at which point you should be limited to 6 months of exclusivity.

    • It probably already is under “anti competition” and “restraint of trade” laws.

      Just needs a government somewhere to start sticking up for their citizens. More likely for the EU to start slapping big fines on the movie companies, than our government, sucking up to Rupert.

  2. ‘The campaign director pointed out that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously said that it is not illegal for Australians to circumvent geo-blocks.’

    Except Malcolm has now reportedly removed that statement from his website.

  3. Considering I have a US Netflix account, I cant see how they can stop me from accessing the US library via my SmartDNS provider. It’s not like I have an Aus account and am paying for the Aus library.

          • Depends on your definition of failing. Treating your customers as the enemy, and losing them and their revenue, isn’t the best way to “succeed”

            Netflix may well fail to be a sustainable business model with this geoblocking strategy, as they have seen in the last quarter, and their share price dropping off a cliff!

  4. To be fair, under the terms of the many different content licensing deals that Netflix would have in place, they would be duty bound to enforce the licensing terms. Don’t yell at them for doing so.

    Yell at them for allowing the situation where the content licensing deals themselves are so restrictive – unfortunately we live in a world where lots of different people/organisations have their fingers in the same pie, and if you try and cut their fingers out of the pie, they get shitty.

    Everyone gets shitty when you try and separate them from their money.

  5. Can YOU meet the challenge?

    The job: Netflix Geo-blockade Special Delta Force.

    You need to be: fit, courageous, blackbelt in a martial arts discipline, more than one will be looked at favourably, mentally sharp, and above all encyclopaedia knowledge of the enemy – Netflix – its movies, habits, market share, Illuminati connections and Area 51 Contacts deep in The Pentagon.

    If YOU can meet these stringent requirements apply now! You could be the next Netflix Geo-blockade buster! Don’t watch a movie hero! BE the hero! Good luck. Not that someone as skilful as you will ever need to be lucky.

  6. I wouldn’t be too worried Netflix usually has to beat the war drums to keep the content providers happy but when push comes to shove they just say its too expensive or it didn’t work without really doing much about anything.

    Some of the most common vpn providers haven’t been blocked etc.

  7. Now is it time to discuss the inanity of geographical registration of tiny netblocks?

    DEMAND your ISP offer you an iP address NOT registered geographically proximate. This is DEAD SIMPLE to implement.


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