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Bell Media: ‘Accessing content via VPNs is stealing’

Mary Ann Turcke, the recently-appointed CEO at Canadia telco BCE’s Bell Media division, has suggested that ‘naming and shaming’ could be an effective method in combating piracy, admitting that the industry needed to make its content more accessible.

Turke made the comments in a Keynote Speech at the Canadian Telecom Summit, telling delegates, that to her dismay, her younger daughter told her she had been using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to disguise her location and access Netflix’s richer US video library, which is geo-blocked to non-US subscribers.

In 2014, 22 per cent of Canadian Netflix subscribers reported using a US IP address, according to research conducted on behalf of industry trade body CTAM Canada.

“It has to become socially unacceptable to admit to another human being that you are VPNing into US Netflix,” Turcke declared. Rather than rely on the federal government or the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to solve the problem, she argued that the industry should instead promote behavioural change. “Like throwing garbage out of your car window, you just don’t do it. We have to get engaged and tell people they’re stealing.”

According to Turke, distinctions between linear and online-streaming rights, distinctions between windows, and distinction between national borders was not something consumers were willing to tolerate. “It is enough to drive anyone to the dreaded Netflix. Legally or illegally,” she warned.

“We, Bell Media, we, the industry, need to make our content more accessible. Just make it easy,” she advised. “Viewers are demanding simplicity and they will seek it out. We have to work together as an industry to make sure people understand the value of creative content.”

Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications recently confirmed that their joint-venture video-streaming service Shomi would be made available directly over the Internet at some point this summer to people wishing to subscribe.

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