Netflix in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Netflix users threaten to cancel subscriptions after streaming site vows to block proxy access to content not available locally

At the moment, web users can watch their favourite shows using virtual private networks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 January, 2016, 7:21pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 January, 2016, 9:27pm

Hong Kong internet users have threatened to cancel their subscriptions with Netflix after the US internet content provider announced that subscribers would no longer be able to use proxies to watch programmes not available in the city.

Hong Kong was among more than 130 countries and territories added to the reach of the video-streaming service last week, but licensing restrictions mean not all shows are available in the city.

READ MORE: Pulling the plug: Netflix says it will block proxy access to shows not available in Hong Kong

Subscribers often resort to proxies, or servers that facilitate access to internet content not available locally, to watch Netflix’s popular shows such as The Walking Dead and Sherlock.

“If all of our content were globally available, there wouldn’t be a reason for members to use proxies or unblockers,” David Fullagar, Netflix’s vice-president of content delivery architecture, wrote in a blog.

The company said it would clamp down on proxies and unblockers in a few weeks.

“[We] have a way to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere,” Fullagar wrote.

Hong Kong subscribers, who currently are able to use virtual private network (VPN) providers to access the shows, are far from happy with the news.

“If Netflix follows through. I’m cancelling my subscription,” tweeted Danny Lee.

“Nooo, life in Hong Kong sucks enough without access to proper Netflix,” said Twitter user Kim Swales.

IT sector legislator Charles Mok, who registered for an account last week after the roll-out, said the Netflix move was “inevitable”.

“It was expected for me when I signed up. I think eventually the copyright industry and the online platforms must sort it out,” said Mok.

READ MORE: Netflix: great for Hong Kong viewers, not so good for home-grown talent

“The world shouldn’t be divided because of copyright interests.”

Those around the world also reacted in a similar manner.

“I was finally happy that people who could afford to pay for a service like Netflix will stop torrenting, but hey, now that’s not going to happen,” Sahil Mohan Gupta, an Indian journalist, wrote in a blog.

Netflix provides three plans for locals with monthly fees of HK$63, $78, and $93.

Additional reporting by Reuters