NBC Loses in Olympic Competition
NBC may be broadcasting the Olympics, but the way they’ve offered them hasn’t proven to be a winner with US consumers. Today, not everyone particularly wants to watch television for sports and not everyone even has a television, given that computers provide great replacements for them. The most comprehensive video coverage of the Olympics comes from the BBC. Unfortunately, people located in the United States are geo-restricted from being able to access this content. According to a report on TechCrunch, however, this has proven to be good business for VPN providers.
Why Does it Work?
Technically speaking, only people in the UK are supposed to be able to access content produced by the BBC. In the United States, only people with televisions and the cable subscriptions necessary to get the coverage are able to access the Olympics. For some consumers, this is not cutting it.
Enter the world of VPNs. A VPN allows a user to select an IP address from any nation that their subscription service offers them. Most of the big VPN providers out there offer UK IP addresses to their subscribers. With a VPN connection, the subscribers are able to hook up to the BBC site and access the Olympic coverage as if they were actually located in the United Kingdom. In fact, as far as the Internet is concerned, the subscribers are located in the United Kingdom.
According to the article, the BBC hasn’t seen any huge spikes in traffic that would indicate that there are a great many users coming from other nations. Of course, the article notes, it’s not clear that the BBC would have any way of knowing if those viewers are actually coming from other nations. The official policy of the BBC is to block access to their content so that only UK-based viewers can watch it.
VPN providers have not been slow to catch on to the fact that they have a potentially very appealing sales pitch in terms of allowing people to access BBC content during the Olympics. This isn’t a new sales pitch for VPN providers, however. What’s different about it is that people in United States and other nations with more or less free Internet access are accustomed to being able to watch whatever they want. VPN providers have been offering services to people in nations such as the United Arab Emirates and China for many years that allow those users to get past national firewalls.
The US and the UK may not have national firewalls but, where accessing geo-restricted content is concerned, subscribers in those nations are finding VPN service useful for the same reason that people in nations with national firewalls find it useful.