Can Netflix Still Be A Global Streaming Platform With These Barriers?

Can Netflix Still Be A Global Streaming Platform With These Barriers?
Photo Credit:AP/ 達志影像

What you need to know

As the Indonesian government blocks Netflix due to cultural recognition and moral values, the online streaming service still needs to deal with regional needs as well as legality issues among VPN users while striving to acquire the global market.

Translated and compiled by Yuan-ling Liang

State-owned telecommunications and Internet provider Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) has blocked Netflix from all its platforms for erotic and violent content.

Netflix, a streaming platform that offers movies and TV shows online, also operates a DVD-delivering renting service in the US, which has become even more popular after the establishment of the TV series, “The House of Cards.” In the beginning of 2016, Netflix made its service available in 130 new countries, including Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam. It has spread to nearly the entire world except for countries such as China, North Korea and Syria.

Dian Rachmawan, head of customer service at Telkom, tells the Jakarta Post that they have blocked Netflix as of midnight on January 27, because Netflix doesn’t conform to the Indonesian law and its content include too much eroticism and violence. Rachmawan says, “We must do it earlier before things get more complicated and create a serious issue.”

According to Indonesian law, the movie industry should “maintain the proper religious belief, morality and cultural value.” In addition, the total hours of foreign movies allocated in Indonesian theaters should also abide by limitations.

Telkom states, Netflix should cooperate with local Internet service providers and filter adequate broadcast content to not violate relevant regulations. The Vietnam government is also attempting to block Netflix due to the same reason. However, Netflix actually has experience in cooperating with local businesses; for example, it works with Singapore Telecommunications Limited by providing service to locals.

While Indonesia makes this strong statement that surprises the world, the Kenya Film Classification Board is also considering blocking the service since Netflix poses a threat to their moral values and national security. All disputes will be closely watched in China, where Netflix is still seeking permission to launch.

However, users around the globe have been using VPN to access Netflix’s content in the US, fooling the systems into thinking they’re in a different country. In other words, the blocking in several nations don’t actually lead to full elimination in a region.

But in the coming weeks, the company plans to begin blocking VPN proxies in an effort to show studios and networks that it will protect their content and abide by licensing deals. There won’t be a reason for members to use proxies or “unblockers.”

Nevertheless, VPN providers are confident that they will be able to build workarounds, and Netflix will then need to commit significant effort to fight off these users.

As Netflix writes in a blog post, “We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere and to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy, that’s the goal we will keep pushing towards." While striving to acquire the global market and granting everyone access to their service, Netflix still needs to deal with regional needs and legality issues.

Edited by Olivia Yang

The Jakarta Post