Netflix may be worldwide, but that does not mean all countries are happy about it. If you haven’t heard yet, the world’s largest streaming company announced at the Consumer Electronics Show that they were now a global company. Unfortunately, some governments still believe in dictating what media can and can not be shown to the public. According to the Motley Fool, one of the countries offering resistance is Indonesia.
There are several issues with Netflix in Indonesia at this point. The first problem is that to operate, the government requires an office to be opened there, they file the appropriate licenses, and they open themselves to taxes. Assuming that issue gets resolved, there is the more obvious issue of censorship. Some items in the Indonesian catalog were banned from local movie theaters there, initially. As with any media, the standards that cause content to be rated one way in a country may not conform with local standards.
Another one of the countries that is banning Netflix is Kenya. The head of the Kenyan Film Board, Jackson Kosgei stated that their streaming services “remain a threat not only to moral values but also to national security.” Though there are only two countries at the moment trying to ban Netflix, there are sure to be more. The libraries for those countries are tiny in comparison to the libraries of other countries, so they were easily sorted through. Because different countries have always had different broadcast rules, surely Netflix anticipated some resistance, right? If these bans stay in effect, the population of Indonesia and Kenya equal up to a population the size of the US.
Clearly, the company has their work cut out for them. Of course, Netflix will have to comply with country rules, or be strong armed in to meeting demands. Some companies call that the cost of doing business in certain countries. The question is, how will Netflix deal with these bans, and can they be resolved in a cost effective manner?
When the company made this announcement at the CES, they also announced that they were cracking down on VPN usage, so people would not be able to view content outside of their targeted area. They were quite happy to take the money in the past, but stated they waited for the day when subscribers would not have to do that. Though it is unknown how much revenue will be lost from that decision, one has to wonder if that policy will remain in place.