After a day of sightseeing in a foreign country, you decide to take a rest in your hotel, boot up your tablet, and open Netflix. In the hope of catching up with another episode of Stranger Things, however, you find out that your Netflix account doesn’t work abroad or that the offerings are different. Why can’t you binge–watch in foreign countries?
Netflix offers different content in each country and blocks its subscribers from moving their accounts across borders due to different licensing agreements. Given the differences in audience preferences across countries, movie and television studios often enforce copyright regionally, which causes a discrepancy in price. A popular show in the US might not receive the same feedback in the UK.
For the same price, UK Netflix viewers can only watch 3,000 films and TV shows—almost half the choice of US users. TV shows such as Parks and Recreation, The West Wing, House, and Grey’s Anatomy are not available for streaming in the UK. In comparison, Netflix in the US doesn’t have offerings such as Better Call Saul (Season Two), Homeland, Suits, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and Olympus Has Fallen.
The quality, in addition to the quantity, of titles on Netflix varies from region to region. America might have the most content, but probably not the best. American Netflix is actually one of the worst if you are trying to watch to watch top new movies. Top–rated films have the best showing in Belgium, Brazil, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Our neighboring friend Canada dominates new movies on Netflix. Some subscribers in the past have attempted to circumvent this problem by using VPN proxies; the company is now investing more money to stop people from using VPNs—and they've generally succeeded.
But, to a certain extent, it’s rather difficult to evaluate content on Netflix across different countries. Despite the fact that American Netflix might not have some of the top–rated shows and films, the UK Netflix is often criticized for its limited capacity. Ironically enough, many of the shows or movies that were originally filmed in Britain can’t even stream on Netflix in the UK, such as The King’s Speech and Skyfall. And the buzzy Netflix original The End of the F***ing World had a delayed release in the UK (even though it was also filmed there.)
But for subscribers like me who are too lazy to dig out new shows and films on Netflix, as long as The Crown is still kept streaming, we’re set.