Netflix excluye a Puerto Rico del “Instant Streaming”

netflix-logoEl pasado domingo 31 de mayo, el colega Héctor Ramos de hectorramos.com, expresó en su blog lo que debe ser el sentir de muchos puertorriqueños que hacemos uso de ciertos servicios en el Internet:  El trato desigual que recibimos con respecto al los 50 estados continentales de los Estados Unidos.  Personalmente me ha ocurrido con el manejo y franqueo de mercancía que adquiero por internet; unos sitios envian el paquete por correo de los Estados Unidos y otros por UPS, porque entienden que Puerto Rico está fuera de la jurisdicción de los EU.  En el caso particular de Netflix, compañía se dedica al alquiler de DVD’s y discos Blue-ray por una cuota mensual, contrario a los 50 estados, donde las películas llegan a tu buzón al día siguiente, en Puerto Rico se reciben en tres o cuatro días.  AdemásNetflix ofrece el servicio de “Instant Steaming”  como parte de la membresía sin costo adicional, evitando la demora en el envio de la película.  Nos cuenta Héctor que al querer probar el servicio en su Xbox 360, la compañía le notificó que el servicio está disponible solamente para los 50 estados, dejando fuera a Puerto Rico.  En otras palabras, el subsctiptor de Puerto Rico paga lo mismo que el de los estados, pero tiene derecho solamente al alquiler de películas por correo, no al “Instant Streaming“.  Hay servicios, como Hulu, que han cambiado sus políticas e incluído a PR; otros como Gamefly todavía mantiene a PR fuera de sus servicios.  Héctor está haciendo un llamado a los suscriptores de Netflix en Puerto Rico a que cancelen sus subscripciones como protesta por no estar recibiendo los mismos beneficios de los 50 estados (por los que pagan lo mismo) y que se expresen por los medios de su incomformidad por este trato desigual.

Ver:  Netflix Excludes Puerto Rico, charges full price

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20 comentarios

  1. Y a aquéllos que se des-suscriban, llamen y háganlo por teléfono para que les digan por qué están cancelando su subscripción. El punto es que ellos relacionen esta práctica desigual con los clientes que están perdiendo, y que hagan el esfuerzo por incluir a la Isla en sus contratos (o al menos, convencer a los estudios de películas de lo ridículo que es excluir a PR de dichos contratos, si en la Isla existen las mismas protecciones legales que en cualquiera de los 50 estados). ¡Gracias por reseñar el asunto!

    1. Solidario con la causa!

      1. … y a esperar que tanto barullo resulte en algún cambio positivo. 😀

  2. Radamés, agradezco tu reseña sobre el tema. Esta es sólo una de muchas situaciones similares como bien mencionas y tenemos que ponernos las pilas para tratar el asunto ya.

    En el caso específico de Netflix, pueden haber muchas razones – desde estudios que especificamente excluyen a Puerto Rico en sus licencias, a que solo incluyen el texto “solo aplica en los 50 estados y el Distrito de Columbia” y por descuido no mencionan a los territorios. Hay quienes creen entonces que debemos ir tras los estudios, y estoy parcialmente de acuerdo con ellos, pero creo que como primer paso debemos usar nuestra mayor arma – el bolsillo. Es dificil que los estudios sientan el impacto (despues de todo, terminamos viendo su contenido en un formato u otro) asi que por eso tome la decisión de comenzar con quien provee directamente el servicio – Netflix.

    Exhorto a todos a que llamen a Netflix y dejen conocer su descontento con la situacion, y den la misma como justificación para terminar sus contratos de servicio. Hay que poner presión y dar a conocer que no estamos dispuestos a fomentar el trato indiferente de los puertorriqueños cuando se habla de negocios.

    Saludos a todos.

    1. Reseñé tu historia porque me parece válida tu exposición y porque éste no es un caso aislado; son varios los servicios que no están disponibles en PR aún cuando somos un territorio americano. Incluso hasta en el costo por envío de mercancía a PR hay diferencias entre comerciantes. Basta con mirar en eBay para prueba. Como bien dice El Rata, hay que levantar la voz y no asumir la portura de “que remedio”, porque elllos sobreviven gracias a los clientes y unoscuantos clientes menos, en un momento de crisis económica como el que estamos viviendo, le hace daño aún al mayor empresario (pregúntenle a GM y Chrysler).

  3. Nunca incluyeron a Puerto Rico en el servicio, si la gente lo usaba mediante metodos “nebulosos” esos son otros $20. Pero es claro que esto no era para Puerto Rico desde el principio, pura llora’era.

    Tambien encuentro tonto que hablen de que aun le cobran “full price”, si el servicio de streaming es gratis.

    1. Si el servicio de streaming es gratis, ¿por que entonces ahora que cancele mi cuenta no puedo aprovecharlo mientras este en San Francisco, California? (¡uno de los 50 estados!)

      El servicio es parte del paquete que te venden. Como discuti en mi blog, el servicio de streaming fue añadido sin costo alguno mientras yo era miembro. Por un periodo de meses puse mi cuenta en espera ya que no estaba usando por completo el servicio de discos ya que era muy larga la espera por correo, pero luego re-active mi cuenta al encontrar que podia utilizar Instant Watch en mi Xbox 360. Desde MI punto de vista, yo estaba pagando $8.99 para Instant Watch, no para el servicio de discos. Cada consumidor le saca provecho a lo que necesita.

      Si el servicio no es para Puerto Rico, no hay problema, por eso sencillamente cancele mi servicio y ahi quedo. Por eso hice publica mi historia, si Netflix quiere responder es su decision. Por mi parte, felizmente volvere a ellos si permiten Instant Watch localmente, mientras tanto, no me hacen falta.

    2. Senyorcitoninja: Tienes razón: Puerto Rico SIEMPRE fue excluido de poder usar esa funcionalidad. Y si por “llora’era” te refieres a “queja válida de clientes no satisfechos a su proveedor de servicio”, tienes toda la razón. En el mundo no te dan galletitas y una estrellita dorada por quedarte callado cuando una compañía está haciendo que encuentras injusto, como consumidor: si su clientela se queda callada y no se queja por el mal servicio, entonces sí se está ganando que se lo den. Tenemos que quitarnos de la mente este concepto de que ser sumisos y calladitos es lo “correcto”, porque así las cosas no cambian.

      Yo lo que encuentro tonto es que la gente piense que el servicio “streaming” es “gratis”: ¿alguien de verdad cree que Netflix calculó tener pérdidas financieras al ofrecer ese servicio, y que aún así lo está ofreciendo desde la bondad de su corazón? No: obviamente ellos simplemente calcularon se podía costear los gastos de este nuevo servicio con lo que la gente estaba ya pagando, y con lo que pagarían los nuevos clientes que dicha funcionalidad iba a atraer iban a tener ganancias de todos modos. O sea, no es que sea gratis, es que TODOS los clientes la están costeando: la diferencia es que no TODOS los clientes pueden beneficiarse de ésta.

  4. My wife always says, “Do you always have to speak up your mind…” and I always tell her “yup”.
    This issue started with a blogpost about how Netflix Excludes Puerto Rico, Charges Full Price , although I went in with valid reasons and I got shot down when I discussed the politics of now pretending just because we are a US Territory that we need to get everything the other 50 states get. In my personal opinion, these are the things people need to get in order when they vote at a status change the next time. I am pretty sure the new generation, will make this change.
    Never the less, I still consider that the practice of Netflix, Inc. in terms of the services they provide to Puerto Rico are somewhat unfair.
    The Consumerist picked up the story, and published and article, “Netflix Can’t Decide Whether Puerto Rico Is In The USA“. Based on this article I went ahead and emailed Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, Inc regarding the situation that is beginning to boil:
    From: badr
    To: Reed Hastings; Hastings; rhastings – reply
    Sent: Tue Jun 02 20:12:06 2009
    Subject: Question about Netflix & Puerto Rico
    Mr. Hastings;
    I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I live now in the states, just because I got offered a job with a government agency that doesnt have an office in the island.
    With all due respect I would like to know, why if Puerto Rico is a sanctioned US Territory (until a couple of years ago, the US Navy bombarded an island where civilians lived less than 5 miles from the blast radius… Vieques, google it), the residents have to pay the full price but not be able to stream the content.
    Just curious if you could answer it it would be awesome… Thanks!”
    Badr
    I got a reply this morning, not directly from Mr. Hastings, but from someone else who perhaps is assigned to weed out the emails for Mr. Hastings:
    Dear Mr. Badr:
    Thank you for your email. Mr. Hastings makes every effort to read each and every email that is sent to him, but is unable to personally reply to all of them. Please know that we appreciate you taking the time to provide us with your feedback and comments.
    You are unable to utilize our instant watching functionality in Puerto Rico due to licensing restrictions. We’re only able to provide this functionality within the 50 United States. Unfortunately, our licensing agreement does not include U.S. territories at this time.
    You are charged the same rate without instant watching is because instant watching is not a paid service. Currently, instant watching is a free added benefit to a paid DVD rental subscription. There are limitations to this functionality and unfortunately not everyone will have access to this feature. However, because it is a free feature, we do not discount accounts that do not have access.
    If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact me directly. I can be reached via email at Kgrey@Netflix.com.
    Thanks,
    Kristy Grey
    Netflix, Inc
    I replied to Ms. Grey with this email and i am still waiting a response, hopefully I will get it sometime today or tomorrow:
    Kristy;

    I am not affected by this because I live in Texas, but a lot of my friends in Puerto Rico use Netflix, and while we can’t do anything with the mailing times, the availability of having streaming helps keep the anxiety of waiting low.

    There is a post, at http://consumerist.com/5276123/netflix-cant-decide-whether-puerto-rico-is-in-the-usa, which would be a good idea you guys read about and perhaps make an official statement about.

    I understand that there could be licensing issues, but this shouldnt affect the outcome that Puerto Rico is as much of a Territory as Hawaii is. We are at a lesser distance than Hawaii is in shipping terms, and you are loosing a lot of good faith in the people of Puerto Rico, by not permitting them use the streaming function.

    I am pretty sure that Netflix, is not a bad company, nor an “evil” corporation… I know you guys must have your limitations, but i think the benefits outweight the issues if this is resolved. Microsoft is in Puerto Rico, and you guys use Silverlight technology on your streaming, so maybe you can ask them to hop in the bandwagon with you and design a workaround to offer.
    I forgot to add, that I don’t understand how your DRM works, since Federal copyright laws apply in their entirety to Puerto Rico and all the US Territories. We get Hulu and ABC.com. I don’t know exactly how the content negotiations work, but there’s definitely some kind of explanation to it, and it isn’t legal.
    In your email you mention that ”We’re only able to provide this functionality within the 50 United States. Unfortunately, our licensing agreement does not include U.S. territories at this time.” So why isn’t Washington DC, affected by this? DC isn’t a state, it’s a federal district which is something like a US Territory, but they get Streaming… Is DC also getting their streaming disconnected?
    Thanks for your time, and I wait patiently for your answers;
    Badr
    —–
    Although the explanations given by Netflix, make somewhat sense, there are some loopholes which I hope they can clarify to me or to the press regarding this. The best solution for this is that Netflix customers in Puerto Rico that have an account is to rally up and create a Class Action Suite against Netflix, demanding them for equality in the service the rest of the customers in the 50 states are receiving without any kind of segregative behavior. In the paragraph where I debated how DRM worked for them vs. Puerto Rico:
    “I don’t understand how your DRM works, since Federal copyright laws apply in their entirety to Puerto Rico and all the US Territories. We get Hulu and ABC.com. I don’t know exactly how the content negotiations work, but there’s definitely some kind of explanation to it, and it isn’t legal.”
    Microsoft supplies the player through the Silverlight infrastructure, so why is Microsoft able to carry out business in Puerto Rico, but Netflix can’t? That is what I am waiting to see what they reply on about. This arguement to me has stopped being a political issue, and become a customer service issue, because there are other places like Washington DC, where they are not a state but they receive the service without interruptions, so why Puerto Rico can’t as well?
    Update:
    I just got the response to yesterday’s email:
    Dear Mr. Badr:
    Thank you again for your email(s).
    I understand that not having the ability to stream might be frustrating. However, please keep in mind that customers are paying to receive DVD’s by mail, not to instantly watch movies & TV episodes. Like any of our site functionalities (Friends, Community, Profiles) the ability to watch movies and TV episodes instantly can be removed at any time without affecting the service itself.
    We are aware that this functionality has limitations. This does not only affect customers residing in Puerto Rico. As per our terms of use, not all of our customers will have the ability to use instant watching.
    As a comparison, many cable companies offer free video on demand. Often times, some customers will receive the video on demand and other customers will not. The cable company does not offer a discounted rate to the customers that do not receive the video on demand feature. Video on demand is a free added benefit (with limitations); similar to watch instantly.
    Our streaming service is different than Hulu or ABC. We are not streaming our own content and do not necessarily own the rights to the titles. We are bound by our licensing agreements and do not have the rights to offer this functionality to Puerto Rico residents at this time.
    In my previous response, I should have said that our streaming service is limited to the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.
    I hope that I’ve answered all of your questions. If you have any further questions, feel free to read the Features & Functionalities section in our Terms of Use, which is where you will find information about instant watching.
    Thanks,
    Kristy Grey
    Netflix, Inc
    To which I responded:
    Kristy;

    Thanks for responding.

    I understand all your points, except one.

    Washington DC is not a state, I dont know if its something between a state and a territory, but historically DC is not a state, yet they receive the same treatment as a state. Is it because it’s the nation’s capital (not trying to be sarcastic), and i bet if Obama doesn’t get his streaming there are going to be problems. HA!

    I understand the “streaming” portion of Netflix is a “free” service, then again its a service you offer to your paying customers, so people see it as a part of the package.

    I would completely understand if Puerto Rico were outside of the US Territory Range, but even the Virgin Islands, get the streaming service, but Puerto Rico can’t…

    Why is this then? Can you explain to me how that “licesing” issue works and why specifically it cannot be offered in the Island?

    I appreciate the time you take to answer my questions. I love Netflix, we enjoy it very much at our home, but I have taken an interest in this issue on behalf of other people.

    Thanks for your time and wait for your next email.
    Again, waiting for their response.
    —-
    I have based an article in my blog http://bytesandbeans.com regarding this issue. My article is based on the letters i have been exchanging with Netflix’s Kristy Grey. I originally contacted Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix at reed.hastings@netflix.com.

  5. BTW I have been writing an article on this issue on my blog, http://bytesandbeans.com, based solely in my conversations with Netflix by Email. As I stated I originally started my emails to Reed Hastings (reed.hastings@netflix.com), CEO of Netflix, and have been keeping my communication with Kristy Grey of Netflix, Inc. Would be cool if you could include this in your post, since people will be able to see what Netflix has been responding to the issues raised at http://hectorramos.com and the Consumerist.

    Thanks!

    Gilbert

    1. I’ll be checking your blog, thanks!

  6. Badr, thanks a lot for your input on this issue. Yours is a good example of what we here in PR should do, don’t sit, stand up do at least ask for an explanation. I hope this change soon, as we are a very lucrative market for all these companies. Again, thanks for sharing your experience.

  7. Last Update from Netflix:

    It seems Netflix is done with my questions. I am publishing my last letter from them, and my response. Sorry Puerto Rico, you either going to have to suck it up or cancel your subscription. I honestly think you should do the latter, canel your account although I dont think that will help as much as just calling their offices or emailing them. I’d sue them honestly…

    Dear Mr. Badr:

    You are correct, DC is not historically a state. They do still have instant watching functionality. Please note that we do not control who does or does not receive this functionality. Unfortunately, I cannot comment specifically as to why they are included while some territories are not.
    Our licensing limitations are a proprietary agreement and I cannot divulge any further information than what I have already provided to you.
    Please know that we’re always looking to improve our service, and its features. We look to a time when all of our customers can enjoy all of our offerings. If and when that time comes, I will reach out to you directly to let you know.

    Best,

    Kristy Grey\Netflix, Inc

    Frankly I think they didnt like me telling them that if Obama doesn’t get his Netflix streamed to the White House, there would be problems in Netflix with the Federal Government.

    My response:

    Kristy;

    No problem. I appreciate what you have divulged already. Bottom line people in Puerto Rico have to suck it up once more. This will never change for us, until we become a state.

    I appreciate your responses, frankly I was surprised you were able to talk so much about the topic before getting yanked in the chain. I will be relaying this info to the people in my blog and the rest of the news papers in puerto rico covering this situation. I wont be bothering you anymore with questions. It is clear that Netflix wont do anything on behalf of Puerto Rico and their customers.

    I had a good conversation with a couple of Lawyers that cover copyright, FCC, and movie distribution into Puerto Rico and the US. They said, that Puerto Rico is sanctioned under Federal Law, to enjoy any priviledges the United States of America has. Meaning that if a movie is streamed, sold or rented in any of the 50 States including the Disctrict of Columbia, it had rights approving its distribution, digitally, sales or rent in Puerto Rico without any restriction or condition.

    They also explained that if a movie was prohibited in the 50 States or the District of Columbia, then it would also be restricted in Puerto Rico under the same laws without exception.

    This is greatly explained in detail under the Distribution Law and the Puerto Rico Regulation of Fair Competition No. VI – January 21, 1980:

    “For new enterprising companies wishing to include Puerto Rico into their venues, the safest option is to draft a detailed and precise contract that includes alternative dispute resolution options, limitations of jurisdiction and clauses which reserve the right to sell their products on a non-exclusive relationship.

    Otherwise, they run the risk of facing several years of costly litigation, and seeing how a fruitful consumer market such as Puerto Rico turns into a sour venture for everyone involved.”

    This means that if Puerto Rican customers of yours that lived in Puerto Rico, and were affected by the Decision of Netflix not transmitting the streaming service (that is free for paying customers, but not free to everyone else), and they made a Class Action Suite against Netflix for discrimmination. I’m afraid Netflix would loose. This would be more costly to you guys than just streaming the content to Puerto Rican’s.

    Eitherway I appreciate you took time to answer my questions and give me a better perspective on how Netflix operates in terms of what they choose to offer to the US, its states, territories and the Disctric of Columbia (although there was no explanation why DC gets it or not).

    Although I also understand that the streaming services are delivered “as is” meaning its not a service you guarantee to your customers to have.

    Badr

    With this I conclude my investigation on Netflix vs. Puerto Rico. My conclusion on this is that as the Netflix End User Agreement clearly states that Netflix is not obligued to offer their streaming service to anyone regardless they are on the 50 states or the exclusive District of Columbia because the “streaming service” is not a part of their services. Its a “free” ad-on for their paying customers, but if it doesnt work in your area of residence, its basically not their fault.

    As you saw, Netflix is not giving away the specific reasons, as why they can offer streaming in the Nation’s capital (Washington DC, which is confirmed by Netflix that it is not a State) but not on the US Territories like Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. I keep thinking that my assumption, that if the President of the United States doesnt receive his streaming into his TV, then Netflix would not exist. What Puerto Rico has to do is show the President of the United States, how much cheaper it would be for them to relocate the White House to Puerto Rico and this will solve ALL of the problems in the Island plus save a couple of billions to the US Government. If it were me, I would start a Class Action Suite.

  8. Radames:

    Thanks for your input =) I just thought this was worth looking into and follow up from a different perspective than just blasting thoughts… I thought, “We should ask the man, and see what he said…” The Man being Reed Hastings didnt answer a single email from me… One of his Lackey’s Kristy Grey did.

    Thanks for following me up on my blog. I dont write a lot but when I write I try to be thorough. =)

    Badr

  9. dammit 😦 I want netflix!

  10. Que otras opciones de “streamed” tenemos en PR?

    1. mmercad: Aparte de canales de TV que tienen esa opción no sé de otra.

  11. Es obvio que esto no se va a resolver asi por que si, mientras las cosas esten como estan en PR no veo mucho cambio y hay una forma legitima de usar un ip de Estados Unidos para hacer funcionar esto. Yo lo estoy usando y lo configure a nivel de router osea q mi xbox tiene streaming mi tivo y mi pc. check this link.

    http://usiplocation.blogspot.com/2010/05/strongvpn-solucion-para-hulu-netflix.html

    1. esalas: Gracias por tu interesante aportación.

  12. Exelente info. la de esalas. Mi parecer es que no es justo que el streaming no esté en servicio para Puerto Rico, me imagino que Hawai y Alaska si lo están disfrutando ya que dependen del Streaming siendo que una “movie” llega a la semana por correo. Igual aquí. Por eso Puerto Rico necesita el streaming y si es gratis con mas razón. No creo que sea tan gratis, pues ellos deben preparar sus servidores para lanzar esa jugadita. Estaré al tanto

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