U.S. Netflix users get preferential treatment in terms of more titles, bu soon Canadian users will get exclusive access to one title that could force U.S. subscribers to use a VPN to access it.
Netflix Disney deal to blame?
The title in question here is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. On Sunday, Netflix confirmed to CBC News that Canada is the only region for which the streaming rights of the much-awaited Star Wars film have been secured. Variety, which first reported the news last week, said the reason the movie will be offered in Canada next year and not in the U.S. or any other region is mainly due to the “timing of when Disney’s pay-TV distribution deals were up for grabs.”
Though Disney did have a content deal with Netflix U.S., it won’t start until 2016. And movies that are being released in 2015 come under Disney’s current output deal with American premium cable channel Starz.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will hit theaters on Dec. 18, so only Starz has the exclusive rights to stream it in the U.S. However, in Canada, the situation is slightly different. Netflix Canada’s deal with Disney started with “2015 releases after the previous agreements for the pay-TV window with Corus Entertainment and Bell Canada expired,” Variety said. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens is slated to come to the service in the country under the terms of the deal, that will occur approximately eight months after the movie leaves theaters.”
VPN always an option
The Force Awakens, which is the seventh film in the blockbuster Star Wars franchise, is highly awaited. Last week, Lucasfilm released two short teaser videos and the movie’s official poster. The trailer was aired during Monday Night Football on Oct. 19 before the start of ticket sales for the movie’s theatrical release.
Fans of the movie swarmed online ticketing sites. Vue Cinemas sold 10,000 tickets in just 90 minutes, while the U.K.’s Picturehouse chain said demand was “unprecedented,” says a report from CBC. Considering such a response, some U.S. Netflix subscribers will surely get a bit jealous of their Canadians counterparts when the film starts streaming. But they can always use VPNs to get access.