Netflix CEO on Blocking Proxy Access: Nothing Much Will Change


Last week, Netflix explained it had plans to block proxy access to out-of-country content customers were accessing, such as through VPN or DNS services.

It’s no secret many Canadians subscribe to VPN services to access U.S. Netflix and more (which Bell accused Canadians of stealing), so this announcement had some worried about whether they would be able to continue to do so.

During the Netflix Q4 2015 earnings call (which we just watched in its entirety), CEO Reed Hastings was asked about the company’s upcoming plans to block proxy access and respect content rights.

From the casual nature of his reply, Hastings appears to suggest not much will change—almost hinting the announcement was made to please content providers.

Hastings answered “I don’t think we’ll see any impact…we’ve always enforced proxy blocking with a blacklist, now we’ve got an expanded and enhanced blacklist…I don’t think we’re going to see a huge change.”

Re/code’s Peter Kafka asked if the company does not expect to see a change—why do it at all? To placate content providers?

The Netflix CEO replied “You can call it placating, you can call it catering to their desires, which–they have legitimate desires. If we license content in Canada, you know, it’s not fair for our customers to get it if we’ve only paid for it in Canada. We’re trying to pay for it all by shifting to global licenses.”

Hastings continued to say “it’s perfectly reasonable what content owners want, and we know there’ll be some people affected by it today, which is why we wanted to be open about it. But it’s really a continuation of what we’ve always done with now with this enhanced blacklist and other techniques.”

That answer makes it seem like not much will change—at all. Netflix benefits when customers watch their shows and get hooked, regardless of where they’re doing it from. As long as you’re a paying member, you are a friend of Netflix.

If you were worried about your VPN service not being able to access Netflix outside of Canada, I’m beginning to think you don’t have much to worry about. What are your thoughts on what Hastings had to say?


  • Bob Zmuda

    Rock and a hard place for Netflix. They don’t care which country’s Netflix you’re watching as long as you’re paying them, but I’m sure they keep getting an earful from content providers. Frankly, I don’t care for content provider’s tired old ways of licensing by region and hope they go the way of the dodo. Me and my VPN will continue to find ways around region blocks until then.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    It affected me. I used VPN Unlimited (bought from the iPhone in Canada website by the way) and I wasn’t able to watch anything on Netflix until I turned the VPN off. So I cancelled Netflix.

  • Corey Beazer

    I haven’t bothered switching to the US netflix in almost a year, it was great at the beginning to watch everything that wasn’t available to Canada, but lately I have found ours to be better.

  • Stroodle

    Good to hear – I switch regions on Nexflix all the time – get bored of one and try somewhere else to find something different.

  • Prashanna

    Why did you canceled Don’t trust any other VPN trust Unotelly DNS a Canadian company that works well Unotelly . Com didnt affect us

  • Realistically, it’s hard to block people from other regional content, as lots of people watch Netflix when travelling out of country. These VPN providers will always find a way to get through, even if IPs are blocked, etc. It’s big business.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I agree that I could waste even more money and pay for yet another VPN service and waste more of my time figuring out which Netflix region I need to go to in order to watch what I want and then have Netflix block the new VPN and do it all over again – or I can just say forget it Netflix, it’s not worth it any more. There are much easier ways to watch movies than playing this game.

  • John

    Canadian Netflix better? Lol. How so?

  • Sorry to hear that Aleks. So you had the VPN on, and Netflix Canada did not work?

  • Steve

    Yup. Downloading your favourite TV shows and Movies for FREE via BitTorrent is the best way to do it. Netflix doesn’t want your money, sobeit.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Yes that’s correct. I pointed to a US IP address and Netflix on my Nexus Player gave me an error. Turned it off and Canadian Netlix worked again. This used to work for me before. Since Netflix profited from VPN usage before, they should reduce their price for reduced service. But they didn’t.

  • jay


  • That sucks. Did you contact them about it? What did they say? If that doesn’t work, shoot me an email, I’ll try to see what Stack Social can do.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    The best example I can think of is Star Wars The Force Awakens will only be available on Canadian Netflix. But on the other hand, Canadian Netflix only has about half the content of US Netflix at about the same cost. They only have about 3000 shows and movies total – you could fit that much on your computer’s hard drive and have your own Netflix. It’s not that much content really.