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Online entertainment service Netflix has upset Australian TV networks, according to The Australian, which reports that there could be between 50,000 and 200,000 ‘subscribers’ in the market, despite there being no operation there.
Local networks are concerned that Netflix is flouting international regulations by accepting payments from Australian credit cards, despite maintaining a geo-block that is easily bypassed by virtual private network (VPN) manipulation or spoof IP addresses.
advanced-television.com reported recently that start-up operation Australian company Getflix was offering Australians the ability to access entertainment streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus using VPN technology to ‘trick’ the geo-blocked services into thinking the user is streaming from the US.
Getflix powers the operation with its own DNS servers, explaining on its website that only a small number of connections to Netflix and Hulu Plus get re-routed via its servers. “The actual video is streamed from Netflix or Hulu Plus directly to you so Getflix is much faster and more reliable than an alternative VPN or tunnel solution,” it says.
Subscribing to the service costs A$2.95 per month, with users still required to take out Hulu Plus or Netflix subscriptions (US$7.95 p.m.).
The concern for Australian broadcasters is that any local subscribers Netflix allows dilute the value of their output deals with international partners, such as Nine’s with Warner Bros or Foxtel Movies’ with various Hollywood studios.
“This is an issue the US studios should be taking up with Netflix because they’re not getting paid,” one network executive said.