Why streaming platforms use geo-blocking to restrict content within countries
Geo-blocking has become a trend in our daily encounters with content produced in foreign countries. You often receive a message that the content is not available in your country or you keep finding answers to troubleshoot disney plus not working.
Videos or music are restricted to viewing or listening in specific regions. This technique is not only used for streamers but also to restrict information.
Geo-blocking can be difficult to understand because most content is geared towards getting the most views to maximize profits. However, there is more to getting views and maximizing profits that makes it necessary to restrict content geographically. Content is restricted for other reasons.
But how does geo-blocking work? What are the reasons why content providers restrict content from other regions and allow it to some? Is it a marketing strategy or a problem they can’t solve? Which channels use geo-restriction, and what benefits or losses do they incur from this practice?
These are some of the questions we might have about geo-blocking that we will answer in the article.
How does geo-blocking work?
Geo-blocking is done intentionally by streaming service providers and is not a mistake that needs to be fixed.
Geo-blocking is a specialized management technique that allows websites to restrict specific content based on the location of viewers. The viewer’s location is indicated by their unique internet protocol address, which displays their location.
A IP adress is a digital identifier that identifies a user who has sent a request to access certain content from the web. The ISP assigns it and IP addresses are unique to a certain region and, in most cases, countries. Therefore, a streaming service can choose IP addresses to allow access to a given catalog.
So why do streaming services use geo-blocking to restrict content?
Copyrights and Licenses
Streaming services must purchase the rights to broadcast content in a particular country before making it available for viewing in a specific region or country. Therefore, they should not distribute their content without distribution rights. Thus, the streaming service holding the distribution rights in a region’s market is the only one authorized to distribute the content.
Streaming services can be divided into different segments that share certain characteristics or which the streaming service deems best. Different market segments may have access to different catalogs depending on demand, government regulations such as restricting illegal content, or the prices they wish to charge.
Another factor that can lead to market segmentation is language. If the content was only produced in a certain language and no translation needs to be done, the content will only be available in countries that can understand the Tongue. This creates yet another market as other similar characteristics continue to divide the markets.
Due to marketing or the nature of the content, the streaming service may estimate expected viewership in regions where the content is most likely to be popular. This will exclude other regions, so streaming services won’t have to buy full rights. But only the rights for the regions of the show are most likely to be successful.
The licenses that streaming services must acquire have a cost. It would make more sense to purchase licenses for specific countries rather than a global license. Deciding which regions to buy rights for depends entirely on the benefits the streaming services will receive.
Obtaining licenses to distribute content in different regions is not as easy as it seems, as there is competition with other streaming services. With these rights, a streaming service obtains exclusive rights to distribute a show in the given region. But could be beaten by another streaming service for the same show in another country.
The downside is that customers can subscribe to more streaming services to enjoy their favorite content. Moreover, different streaming services distribute these shows in different countries.
Advertising and Broadcast Schedules
Popular movies can be released in different regions at different times as part of a strategic plan to maximize profits. The movie or show may hit theaters on different dates as part of a promotional campaign that gives way to the release of other movies.
The 90-day fulfillment policy that governs how long a movie can be shown on streaming platforms may have the movie available in some regions before others. Unlike the time difference between releases, viewers in a region will be geo-blocked until the show can air in their region.
For the above reasons, the number of titles on a streaming service may vary from country to country. This, in turn, causes prices to differ from region to region. It would not be fair for a region with lower charges to access another region’s catalog at that price. Therefore, excess titles must be geo-restricted in one area and available in another.
While geo-blocking can hamper our choices about what content we prefer to watch, it’s a necessary measure that streaming services must take to be on the right side of the law. However, it is possible to access content from your preferred region using a VPN.
A VPN replaces your IP address with that of the server location, giving you access to a new catalog.