Why Do Streaming Platforms Geoblock Content?

words Al Woods

Geo-blocking is the process by which content is made unavailable for viewers in certain geographical locations. Consequently, users in blocked locations cannot legally consume the content.

There are many reasons why companies opt for these practices. In the same vein, geo-blocking content can have varying impacts on content creators and viewers. The following article explores why companies restrict viewership in this way and how the practice affects consumers and creators of content alike.

Platforms Geoblock

Why Geo-Blocking?

There are many reasons for companies to resort to this strategy. Here are some of them:

  • Financial feasibility: From the perspective of content providers, the flexibility of their business model is a reason for utilizing blocks. Certain content might have sparse followership and are financially inefficient to provide. A geo-block allows the provider to negotiate financially feasible licensing and advertising agreements. In other words, they can pivot between business models and strategies in different regions.
  • Licensing and copyright issues: Unfortunately for viewers, content creators can distribute their content any way they like. One of the ways they do so is on a regional basis. Consequently, a content provider may only be legally allowed to show content in some regions or countries.
  • Content release schedules: Content creators and providers sometimes organize different release schedules for different regions. If their content is for online consumption, geo-blocks come in handy as enforcement tools. In other words, they can use such a content block to prevent people in a region from accessing the content in their location ahead of its release.
  • Regulatory compliance: For one reason or another, the authorities of a region might consider certain content as inappropriate. A content provider looking to do business in such a location may use regional restrictions like a geo-block to prevent the consumption of censored content. Such a strategy would leave allowed content unaffected.

Impact of Geo-Blocking on Media Viewership Worldwide

Inherently, such regional restrictions are bound to affect viewership. Here are some specific ways that they do this:

  • Reduced access to content. The very nature of a geo-block means reduced access to content for viewers outside certain locations. Consequently, such people miss out on the ability to use the content for entertainment, academic purposes, etc.
  • Innovative ways to bypass restrictions. The inability of potential viewers to legally access content might trigger piracy. Users desperate to consume content would look for means of circumventing geo-blocks. One such means is the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Such a tool allows users to mask their IP and access content seemingly from an approved location. That means you could watch Australian Survivor even if you are on a different continent.
  • Cultural isolation. By restricting people’s ability to consume content, geo-blocks enable cultural isolation. People from different regions can experience the culture of another place simply by consuming content from there. By extension, they receive exposure to new ideas, perspectives, and activities. Geo-blocking content stomps such a possibility and negatively impacts diversity as a result.
  • Consumer frustration with reduced variety. Restricting access to content by regional locations reduces the variety for affected persons. It can then lead to frustration, as viewers/subscribers might feel dissatisfied with the value obtained for their money. As a consequence of this, the reputation of the content provider may suffer even in cases where they are legally obligated to enforce the geo-block.

Motivation Behind Geo-Blocking and the Consequences it has on Content Creators

Content creators are not spared some of the impact of geo-blocks. Below are some of the consequences of geo-blocks on content creators:

  • Limited reach. A geo-block inherently reduces the reach of content by shrinking the pool of potential viewers. As a consequence of the measure, content creators can’t even characterize viewers in restricted locations if they wish. If such viewers employ reliable VPNs to bypass the block, their identity and activity will remain hidden from the providers and creators.
  • Loss of potential revenue. Along with a reduced pool of viewers comes reduced revenue potential. Viewers equal money in the content business. Geo-blocks’ impact on earning potential is especially significant when demand develops after a licensing agreement or block.
  • Poor customer experience. Such concerns are a problem where consumers pay subscriptions to access content in packages. More often than not, they are ignorant of what is available under their subscriptions. As such, realizing they can’t access some content might lead to feelings of betrayal, frustration, and anger. These, in turn, affect their experiences and the reputation of the content provider.


Geo-blocking can help content providers to navigate legal agreements and obligations. However, it can affect the consumer experience and the provider’s bottom line.

One key thing to note here is that restricting viewership of content in regions may increase the demand. Armed with a reliable VPN or web proxy, people can spoof locations, anonymize their identities, and obtain the content. In this case, people usually opt for VPNs that are of good quality and service. If you are curious about what providers people usually choose, you can check out the VPN comparison table on Reddit, as well as customer reviews online.

As such, the use of a geo-block raises the question of how we can balance the financial feasibility with user experience. It’s an especially important question when legal rights and inclusiveness are in play.

We have represented the cases of both viewers and creators/providers. Let’s hear what you think.





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