Would you still use Netflix Singapore when more content is available in other countries?
On Jan 7, Netflix finally launched its highly anticipated services in Singapore, allowing locals to access its vast movie catalogue, previously only available in the United States (US).
However, Netflix's recent decision to block proxy access to its US website was received with much criticism.
What's going on?
With Netflix, users can watch popular shows for a fixed monthly fee of S$10.98, without having to follow a broadcast schedule in other cable TV channels like HBO and FOX.
Prior to the ban, Netflix users in Singapore were using the subscription service's US website via virtual private networks (VPNs). This kept their real locations hidden from authorities, and allowed them to access content that is only available in other countries.
Since there is a limited number of content available in Singapore, as compared to the US, Netflix's decision to block proxy access has raised several concerns.
For instance, should Netflix users revert to using alternative methods, such as VPNs, instead of subscribing to its localised services?
Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) student Alfian Ridwan, 17, finds it rather odd to spend money on a service that does not have a wide variety of content.
The mass communication student said: It's not worth it. There are other websites that we can access to watch these shows and movies as compared to Netflix. Why spend $10 every month on something that is quite limited? Using other means seems pretty fine, as long as they aren't illegal."
NOT MANY SEEM CONVINCED WITH NETFLIX SINGAPORE'S WEBSITE.
Currently, South Korean dramas, Japanese anime titles, British and American TV series, and even Kungfu movies are unavailable in Singapore. This displeases fans of Breaking Bad, Sherlock, and Doctor Who – popular series that many young Singaporeans watch.
Similarly, Nanyang Polytechnic student Gerard Berchman feels that Netflix Singapore's lack of content will push certain users to find other ways to get access to more content.
"It's great to have an 'all-in-one' platform, but content restrictions like banning the use of proxy access would make some unhappy. We're an IT savvy nation, we'll definitely find other ways to watch our favourite shows and movies," said the 19-year-old social work student.
Nevertheless, Netflix still provides a convenient platform that appeals to many viewers. Netflix users like NP student Samuel Elias are relatively satisfied with its services.
Samuel said: "Although it has its limitations, I feel that Netflix is a great service to many who want a one-stop arena to all the popular TV shows and movies that we love. There's no need to spend long hours torrenting movies unlawfully, and it's less risky too in case viruses pop up."
WITH NETFLIX, YOU DO NOT NEED TO TORRENT YOUR SHOWS.
Others like ITE student Carlos Agustin, 20, feels that people need to understand this issue from a business point of view.
"You can't blame Netflix for what it’s doing; it's purely business. It's clearly trying to reach global audiences and offer its diverse content to everyone, so I don't see anything wrong with banning proxy access. You can't get that reach if you can get everything from the US website," said Carlos.
What's your take?
- What websites or subscription services do you use to watch your shows and movies online?
- What would you do if your favourite show or movie is not offered in your local subscription service?
- How do services like Netflix affect the entire digital entertainment landscape in Singapore?
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