One of the most annoying things about Netflix is that it offers different content depending on which of the more than 190 countries in which it’s currently available you happen to be watching from. Let’s say you just streamed Beverly Hills Cop, and you can’t wait to find out what happens to Axel Foley next. If you’re in London, no problem, mate. Just click on over to Beverly Hills Cop II and settle in for some synth-scored fun. If you’re in Chicago, too bad for you, because that Tony Scott film isn’t available to stream in the U.S. For the slightly more tech-savvy film-watchers out there, that’s never been too much of a problem—they’ve always been able to circumvent such irritating restrictions through the use of VPN proxies and unblockers like Hola and TVUnblock, because sometimes you really need to watch Beverly Hills Cop II. That’s about to change, though.
Netflix’s VP of content delivery architecture David Fullagar announced in a blog post today that the streaming service will be taking steps in the coming weeks to make such regional workarounds impossible. “We are making progress in licensing content across the world … but we have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere,” he explained. “For now, given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory. In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location.” He declined to offers specifics when asked by Variety what kind of technological magic they’d be using to make everybody play by the rules, but he did say that Netflix “uses a variety of technologies to properly geolocate members and to avoid attempts to circumvent proper geolocation.”
When Netflix makes a deal to have a movie or TV show available for streaming, they obtain permission for specific periods of time (which is why things are always arriving and vanishing at the end of the month) and specific countries. For whatever reason, Paramount was totally cool with the entire Beverly Hills Cop series being seen in Britain, but drew a hard line against the two sequels streaming in the States. For now, at least.