After months of speculations regarding its expansion plans, the Los Gatos, CA-based online video streaming service, Netflix, recently launched its services to include as many as one hundred and thirty new markets around the world, including, but not limited to, potentially high-volume emerging markets like India and Russia. With the massive round of expansion, the service is now available officially in almost all corners of the world, except for countries like Crimea, North Korea and Syria, because of economic restrictions imposed by the US federal government. China, however, continues to remain conspicuous by its absence from the long and comprehensive list of new markets for Netflix, for reasons not officially detailed by the American tech company.
The one unexpected fallout of Netflix's global launch, however, is only now going to be felt, as the company says it will start cracking down on visitors who tune in to the service by way of proxy sites and/or VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). The usage of such 'unblocking' services is a common practice amongst the tech savvy, as it allows people to bypass stifling and often infuriating geographical restrictions, imposed by video streaming sites such as Netflix and Hulu. So if Netflix were to indeed act on its promise, or for that matter, if it is actually technically feasible and financially acceptable for the company to block users from round the world, that would undeniably be a troubling thought for many a Netflix user worldwide, who are used to subscribing to the service exclusively to watch American TV shows and movies.
While many in the US may wonder as to why someone sitting across seven seas would want to access Netflix's US-specific service even after having access to their own locally-curated content, it can be explained fairly simply. Take the case of India for instance. The pricing is almost identical to that of the US, meaning the basic tier starts at Rs. 500 ($8) plus taxes, while the HD stream will cost Rs. 650 ($10) plus taxes. The Ultra HD stream meanwhile, will set you back by Rs. 800 ($12) plus taxes. However, for almost an identical payout, viewers will reportedly have access to only around seven percent of the US catalog. Although there will be some additional India-specific content, it is likely that most people in the country only sign up with Netflix for the latest and greatest from Hollywood. If indeed Netflix is able to execute its latest warning effectively, it should expect its revenues to take a hit, at least in one potentially gigantic market.