IN PHOTO: The headquarters of Netflix is shown in Los Gatos, California in this file photo taken September 20, 2011. Netflix Inc reported higher profit that beat Wall Street expectations for the quarter that ended in March, boosted by the addition of 2.25 million customers to its movie and TV streaming service in the United States. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files Reuters

Netflix’s reported crackdown on geoblock users won’t affect New Zealand Internet users, an Auckland company is confident. The on-demand Internet streaming media provider has allegedly started blocking users who user virtual private networks, or VPNs, to watch from its U.S. service.

Netflix is currently available to subscribers in the States and some part of Europe. It recently announced it is expanding its service in Australia and New Zealand in March, though it is feared that the content that would be made available in the region wouldn’t be as satisfactory as the content Netflix offers in its U.S. service.

For those who don’t have Netflix in their area, the solution is to bypass the geolocation restrictions using VPN or other tools that change the users’ geographical lcoation. This allows them to access the service. However, according to Torrent Freak, Netflix has started blocking VPN users from accessing their service.

“This is a brand new development,” VPN provider TorGuard’s Ben Van der Pelt told Torrent Freak. “A few weeks ago we received the first report from a handful of clients that Netflix blocked access due to VPN or proxy usage. This is the very first time I’ve ever heard Netflix displaying this type of error message to a VPN user.”

According to the site, the crackdown on VPN users was brought on by television studios and movie studios that have exclusive rights to sell content on a country-by-country basis. The company is reportedly testing different blocking methods, and will be using more aggressive blocking tools in the future.

Netflix issued a statement on Monday, saying that the practice of accessing Netflix through geoblocking tools has always been against its policy. However, it did not confirm or deny that it has started a clampdown.

ByPass Network Services, an Auckland-based company, isn’t worried about the clampdown, though, whether it is true or not. According to co-founder Matthew Jackson, the company’s Global Mode worked “without issues” over the weekend.

“Because we are a managed service we are ahead of the game and we look at these things proactively. We don’t think we are going to have any troubles,” he told Fairfax NZ News.

Netflix will begin offering its service in Australia and New Zealand in March, and is expected to face strong competition with other on-demand streaming media services. However, perhaps the biggest competition it would face is itself. There are Aussies and Kiwis who already pay for the service using geoblockers, and are unlikely to give it up for a more condensed and localised content offering.