Netflix Subscriber Growth Falls - VPN Payback

Over the last few weeks, we have covered in these pages the fact that millions of people have been blocked from accessing their Netflix account.   Although perhaps we should clarify that most have been blocked from they're preferred Netflix version rather than completely restricted.

I'm referring of course to the almost 100% ban which has been implemented by Netflix on using VPNs and proxies to circumvent the region locking which is used by the site to stop people sneaking off to use different versions.   Most people for example use these tool to view the US version of Netflix through their account despite not being in the US.   The VPNs could hide your real location and allow you access.whichever version you wanted.

The version was nearly always the US version which has thousands more movies and shows than the other versions of Netflix.  Many Canadians for example rarely logon to the Canadian Netflix instead firing up their VPN and switching to a US server before going to their account.

However then it started - the Netflix Block VPN purge where they suddenly blocked access from any non residential IP address which meant that virtually every VPN server (which all reside in commercial data-centres) stopped working and users received the now infamous error message.

Imagine literally hundreds of thousands subscribers saw this message within a few days as they fired up their faithful VPN clients.  It will have generated some serious ill will towards the media giant - imagine being half way through some US only box set when the rug is literally whipped from under your feet.

What Netflix wants to happen is for people to stop all this geohopping and go back to using their own specific Netflix version.   However it is likely many will simply quit, switch to another media provider or perhaps just go back to downloading via torrents all the stuff on the Netflix servers and more.   There has already been a huge slowdown in subscriber growth, the simple reality is that many Netflix users aren't interested in their own geographically locked version - most want the US Netflix.

It will be interesting to see how this develops, there is little doubt that Netflix will have been under pressure from the content providers and copyright holders to lock out these VPN users.   The costs might have been seriously underestimated from the media giant though, VPN based subscribers represent a significant portion of users and many will simply go elsewhere.