In March 2016, Netflix stepped up its fight against unblockers – services that provide access to Netflix’s catalog in other regions. It is a fight that Netflix appears to be winning, according to CBC News
Unblockers are giving up
For years, a subset of Netflix’s subscriber base used unblocking services to bypass geoblocking restrictions. In this way any subscriber could gain access to for example Netflix’s more comprehensive US catalog.
”Unfortunately every time we set up a new network or find a workaround it is getting blocked within hours”
And for years, Netflix did not mind. However, in March 2016 Netflix began blocking the unblockers. It is a fight that Netflix appears to be winning.
CBC News reports that Unblock US - one of the most popular unblockers – has removed all references to Netflix on its website and Facebook page. One user said that Unblock US worked for months to try and circumvent Netflix’s efforts. It worked initially but no more.
Another popular service, UnoTelly, has also removed all references to Netflix on its website and on Facebook. The company says that geounblocking "is not permitted" any longer. UnoTelly also tried to keep its geounblocking afloat but it appears that the company has given up.
While Unotelly and Unblock US decline to comment publicly on the matter, a third unblocker service, uFlix, has announced that it is giving up the fight. In a blog post the company says:
- ”Unfortunately every time we set up a new network or find a workaround it is getting blocked within hours. Over the last 7 months we have put in a great amount of time, money and energy into keeping Netflix unblocked. We have usually been up and running within a couple of hours of each ban. However, this has greatly drained our resources and our time.”
uFlix has instead added Amazon Video as an unblocked service.
All three companies vowed to keep up the fight when Netflix first announced its initiative 7 months ago.
Getflix claims to have the solution
Turkish company Getflix claims to have a solution that will be “impossible for Netflix to block”.
- "... working on a new solution that will be impossible [for] Netflix to block. But it takes time to deploy," the company told CBC News.
It is not clear when exactly Getflix will deploy it.
EU is actively working on banning geoblocking practices that services such as Netflix take advantage of under its “European Digital Single Market” plan.