Consumers frustrated by geo-restricted content

Consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated by restrictions limiting them from immediately accessing online content. According to research from Internet privacy and security pioneer AnchorFree, millions of people across the globe are downloading virtual private network (VPN) apps to ensure they don’t miss an episode of EastEnders or a new YouTube sensation.

The Silicon Valley-based company has revealed that downloads of its free Hotspot Shield VPN increased by 300 per cent in the first week of the London 2012 Olympic Games. US broadcaster NBC saved each day’s highlights for primetime audiences, providing only limited free internet access to less popular events. US residents responded to this by watching the action in real time on BBC broadcasts that would have been blocked without the use of technology to access geo-restricted content.

Access isn’t just a concern for paid content providers. The Pakistan Telecommunication Agency (PTA) blocked access to YouTube in Pakistan in September 2012. This resulted in a 2,340 per cent growth of Hotspot Shield users in with the mobile user base increasing by 4,670 per cent by December 2012. The data analysis reveals that in response to increased Internet restriction, citizens are turning to technology in order to gain or maintain access to the content of their choice.

“With the Internet creating a ‘borderless world’ online content providers must adapt to the age of on-demand digital streaming,” says David Gorodyansky, CEO and founder, AnchorFree. “Consumers have an increasing appetite for global content and they do not have the patience to wait for official resolutions. The outdated model of country-by-country licensing and broadcast needs to be quickly abolished and a new approach found that embraces, not ignores, the always on world.”

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