Sophie Ryan is online editor for the Business Herald

Netflix crackdown in New Zealand takes hold

Netflix's promised crackdown on VPN users has stretched to New Zealand users trying to access the American catalogue. Photo / Bloomberg
Netflix's promised crackdown on VPN users has stretched to New Zealand users trying to access the American catalogue. Photo / Bloomberg

Netflix warned in January that people outside the United States trying to watch content on the American catalogue would find it difficult to reach the service through VPN, but it seems to have taken three months for the crackdown to really be felt in New Zealand.

Netflix recently expanded its service to 130 countries, but the news wasn't great for New Zealanders who have been paying for a subscription to the US site through a virtual private network (VPN).

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VPNs allow users an anonymous way to access a site that is restricted to one location.

A source told the Business Herald he had paid to use a VPN service and felt a little nervous that his addiction to US shows and movies could be over when the announcement came from Netflix in January that the company would be working to shut down VPNs accessing the US catalogue.

He continued to use the VPN service without any problems until two weeks ago when it showed that Netflix had caught up with him and he couldn't access the US catalogue.

He switched to a $6 per month VPN service called Getflix and despite some difficulty immediately connecting to Apple TV for Airplay purposes, he has found the two weeks with the VPN a success.

Paypal is no longer an option to pay for the VPN subscription since it got on board with Netflix's mission in February.

If Getflix is shut down by Netflix the source would try to find another VPN, and felt confident Netflix wouldn't be able to shut down all the services available.

One reader said he had ended his subscription to Netflix when his VPN service stopped working.

"The companies bullying Netflix to prevent access really need to get with the times. You'd think that distributors would be happy that consumers want to pay... Back to downloading TV and movies for me now," Andy wrote.

Other people commented that "proxy detected" messages that had previously been appearing from time to time were more consistent recently.

"Sucks! I lost access couple weeks ago. You're already paying for it anyway. It's not like you're illegally downloading," Patrick Grey wrote on Facebook.

Last year, Netflix put out 450 hours of original programming, compared to 401 hours from HBO and this year, both companies say they expect to release roughly 600 hours of original material.

Netflix will test the loyalty of its long-time subscribers in the US next month when it hikes their prices 25 per cent, following a two-year freeze that kept rates at US$8 per month.

The increase will hit 17 million to 22 million US subscribers, based on analyst estimates.

The stock price dropped more than 10 per cent in extended trading after the company predicted it would only add 500,000 US subscribers in the second quarter of the year.

- NZ Herald

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