According to a report by The Financial Post, HBO is cracking down on Canadians accessing the HBO Now streaming service with the help of VPN and DNS geo-unblocking tools. The service, which is exclusively available through Apple TV at launch and also online in the U.S. for $14.99, is being enjoyed by people outside of the United States as well, the same way Hulu and other U.S. only streaming services are accessed.
(Image via TorrentFreak)
Users in various regions, including Canada, U.K, Germany and Australia, have all reportedly received notifications from HBO. The source adds that the emails also state HBO will terminate any account associated with a VPN or DNS service on April 21 without the option for a refund.
— HBO Canada (@HBOCanada) March 9, 2015
In Canada Bell and Corus hold the exclusive TV rights for HBO, and the only way to watch HBO content legally via the internet is through CraveTV, or through HBO Canada online and the TMN Go app. Interestingly, Bell spokesman Scott Henderson dodged the question of whether the company had rights to a standalone HBO streaming service in Canada (via Alphabeatic):
“[I] appreciate the question, but could never comment on the nature of any future rights exercise for competitive reasons,” he replied. I double-checked today and asked whether Bell had full streaming rights to all HBO content in Canada, and whether those rights extend only to older content or if they include newer content as well. I also asked again if the rights are tied to TV subscriptions. “We stream new HBO content on TMN Go, which is authenticated, and library content on CraveTV,” he replied.
So apparently, the company does not have the rights to offer a standalone HBO streaming service in Canada, or at least possibly not until the multiyear deals with Bell and Corus run out in 2018.