Cliff Edwards is Netflix’s director of corporate communications and technology, and he confirmed yesterday that while he’s not into the idea of Aussies using their VPNs to access the service, there’s not much the company can do about it come Australian launch time.
“It’s hard to track someone down who is a VPN-er,” he said, after I told him that I was one myself.
He flinched, and added “we believe that it’s against our terms of service, we believe content owners should be paid,” he added.
“We do try to track down [VPN] folks, but it’s a game of whack-a-mole: no company can track them all down.”
It’s believed that Netflix in Australia has between 200,000 to 300,000 Aussie users who take advantage of VPN technology to spoof their way into using Netflix Down Under. Netflix, however, isn’t hugely concerned about the (unsubstantiated) numbers of Aussies currently tuning into the service from Australia via VPN tunnels.
“While we don’t believe it is 200,000 [Australian users], there are 6 million broadband-enabled homes in Australia,” Edwards added, implying that the majority of users in Australia aren’t tunnelling their way into the US for access to the premiere streaming service.
Edwards also warned that in the lead up to the Netflix launch in March 2015, we’re likely to see Australian TV executives threatened by the service spread more than a little BS.
“Every market we launch in is kind of hostile. What happens is that there’s a lot of FUD out there before we launch. Incumbents have fear and hysteria, but we’re actually a compliment to them.
“The broadband providers benefit [from our launch] because people want a bigger pipe for content, and we give filmmakers the chance to be seen before a global audience.
“We don’t want to kill channels or force people to cut any cords. We’re about giving people more choice,” he said.