It’s widely accepted that many Canadian Netflix subscribers use VPN tools to get access to the U.S. (read: superior) content library, but a new study out today suggests the number of people who partake in the slightly shady behaviour is in fact massive. A new study from Media Technology Monitor (via Marketing) found that 29 percent of respondents in a Canadian media survey admitted to using a U.S. IP to access the streaming media service – and that’s just counting those that were honest enough to own up to it.
Despite sharing a common language and much of the same popular culture, and one of the longest continuous international borders in the world, Canada and the U.S. enjoy relatively disparate privileges when it comes to streaming digital content. Nation gates are ubiquitous, especially when it comes to broadcast content that is later brought to online services – we still don’t even have access to Hulu, for instance.
In fact, the lure of U.S. content libraries was strong among those who self-identified as Netflix users in the survey: 40 percent said they were spoofing their IP to access other, non-Netflix U.S. media content online.
Let’s be honest here: Canadians often do get the short end of the stick when it comes to these services, and there’s a bustling business in helping them pretend to be just a few hundred miles south of where they actually reside in order to see a show they otherwise wouldn’t be able to catch.
It’s frustrating to consumers, seeing so much in the way of product similarity and coming up against that content gap, which is due in part to licensing differences and government regulations around media and broadcast organizations.