As Dr. Ian Malcolm so, uh, eloquently put it in Jurassic Park, “Life, uh, finds a way.” Nowhere is this more true than the delicate ecosystem that exists online. As numerous companies and industries have discovered over the past 2+ decades, users are going to access content in the cheapest and easiest way possible and there is almost nothing anyone can do to stop them (see Blockbuster, TV ratings and basically the entire music industry).
This recent CBC article shows that about 1/3 of English speaking Netflix users in Canada access the U.S. version. Why? Because the offering of movies in Canada is pretty abysmal. Netflix struggles to get the rights to stream most films on Canadian Netflix. While that is slowly changing, it will be some time before the offering we see in Great White North comes close to our neighbors.
This brings me back to consumers finding a way. 1/3 of Canadian users have found a loophole to get access to all the content they want on the U.S. version. They mask their IP address and the app can’t figure out the difference. I don’t expect Netflix to find a solution for this any time soon. In many ways, Canadians accessing the superior U.S. Netflix will only put more pressure on distributors in Canada to get a deal done. They need to monetize what Netflix is allowing Canadian users to access and quickly or risk losing more cash to this Canadian/U.S. Netflix hybrid.