Streaming outside of your streaming subscription’s geographic territory is, unfortunately, not a freedom that you are guaranteed. In fact, Netflix recently announced plans to crack down on VPN users to better enforce its country-specific content licensing agreements. While this has been bad news for many Americans abroad, U.S. military bases overseas will be exempt from geo-blocks, reports Stars and Stripes.
As TorrentFreak pointed out, many overseas military bases aren’t considered to be U.S. soil, so they wouldn’t technically be part of the geographic territory of the United States. Nonetheless, “Netflix always exempts U.S. military bases around the world,” Anne Marie Squeo, a Netflix spokeswoman, told Stars and Stripes. “They will still be able to access the U.S. catalog.”
Many service members overseas, however, don’t live on a base, and therefore may find their streaming curtailed by Netflix’s geo-blocks. For the TV and movie fans among them, that would likely be a big disappointment. Having access to Netflix’s U.S. content while deployed can be morale-boosting, according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Shaundell Wright, who is stationed in Japan.
“For me Netflix is a way of being home,” said Wright. “We are already in a foreign country and everything is so different. So, to be able to watch Netflix feels good.”
Frustrating as it may be for those who live and work abroad, TV and movie licensing agreements are rarely global, so it’s understandable that Netflix would have to enforce the deals it has made. Eventually, however, we may see a push to offer more content to all of the streamer’s geographic regions. The vice president of content delivery architecture at Netflix, David Fullagar, seemed to indicate movement in that direction when announcing the crackdown, but admitted that the company has “a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere.”
In the meantime, those who find themselves unable to access the Netflix content they want will have the option of changing their subscription to match their location. It may not be ideal, but at least it’s an alternative.