The US streaming service already geo blocks non-US users, but many have been able to access the service using a virtual private network (VPN) to hide their location.
Hulu, which is owned by a group of US majors, has now sought to prevent people accessing its service in this way by blocking IP addresses associated with ‘geo-dodging’. The new attempt to block non-US users started last week.
VPN users blocked in this way are now greeted with the message: “Based on your IP address, we noticed you are trying to access Hulu through an anonymous proxy tool. Hulu is not currently available outside the U.S. If you’re in the U.S., you’ll need to disable your anonymiser to access videos on Hulu.”
TorrentFreak was the first to report the news and noted the attempt to block international users will also affect hundreds of thousands of VPN users in the US.
The move has fuelled speculation that Hulu might once again seek to launch a service outside the US. It recently sold its only international operation, in Japan, but might reassess its international options in the wake of Netflix’s success in Europe and Latin America.
The blocking move is also likely associated with protecting content rights, with many of the shows on the service licensed to other streaming services and to broadcasters internationally.