How many times have you been excited to watch a video, only to see a message stating it isn't available in your region? You aren't the only one who’s experienced this problem. This is the result of geography blocking, or geoblocking.
To dig deeper, read our complete guide to video content management systems.
Geoblocking is the process of blocking access to certain content based on a user's geographic location. Websites and online applications can detect your geographical location and prevent you from accessing regionally restricted content. This practice is most often country-specific, wherein content that's available in some countries may not be available in others.
Websites can detect a user’s geographical location in several ways.
GPS is the same technology used by Google Maps to detect a user's location and help them navigate. A GPS receiver locates a user by sending signals from their device to three or more satellites and determining the distance between itself and the satellites.
Since GPS tells a website or application where users are trying to access content from, it's easy to lock them out if the content is blocked in that region.
Every device connected to the internet has an internet protocol IP address assigned to it. Every IP address is mapped to a geographical location that helps determine where a device is connecting from—the country, state, and zip code. This IP address can also be used to determine a user's location and geoblock them.
Browser cookies help track user activity on the internet, including login location. Cookies are stored in a file on the user's device and accessible to websites and applications when the user is browsing them.
It's important to note: In some regions, cookies can only be set and accessed by web applications if a user has given consent, such as in the European Union due to its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws.
As a content creator, you may want to geoblock video content for several reasons.
Oftentimes, licensing agreements prevent you from distributing your digital content in specific regions. For example, a country's government may prevent you from showcasing news videos in other countries. You could run into issues if you don't geoblock content in such cases.
Countries' copyright laws differ. Certain countries may not recognize copyrights from your home country, and you could end up sharing ownership of your content with someone else, thus losing the benefits attached to the copyrighted property.
Target audiences differ across regions. Viewers in one country may not be interested in the same content as those in another. In such cases, it's important to localize content and make it only accessible to relevant users. This prevents a bandwidth crunch from unnecessary and irrelevant viewership.
As a content creator, it's imperative that you configure your content for the right regions to avoid running into any legal trouble.
One way to take charge of your videos and set content rules is by using a video content management system (CMS). You can select the countries in which you want to make your content available and ensure it’s served exactly as required.
If you want to learn more about geoblocking and other essential video terms, download our free digital video infrastructure guide.