Network pulled from Apple TV Canada
JOHN POWELL - SLAM! Wrestling
For some Canadians, it was good while it lasted. As of Tuesday morning, the WWE Network is no longer available on Apple TV in Canada.
A representative from Apple Canada verified the WWE removed the service but that Apple would offer a refund to anyone who paid for but cannot access the WWE Network in Canada.
Affected customers can contact iTunes Billing Canada at 800-676-2775.
Despite the Apple TV removal today, many Canadians are still subscribing to and enjoying the WWE Network by changing their settings and using VPN services and the like to get around the geo-blocking.
The WWE’s decision to make The Network only available in the United States at launch is seen by many as part of the larger issue of U.S. content being geo-blocked from Canadians. Last year, CBS blocked the live 24/7 Internet feeds of their Big Brother series to Canadians after previously offering them through a Real Networks subscription for 13 years.
Upon receiving a flood of complaints from Canadians, CBS ditched the geo-blocking and made the feeds accessible, welcoming back Canadian fans. While the feeds were being blocked, tech savvy Canadians were using proxy servers, VPNs and Internet browser add-ons which cloaked or changed their country of origin so they could enjoy the feeds they had subscribed to. These are the same shadowy strategies some Canadians use to access other American streaming services such as Hulu Plus and the U.S. version of Netflix.
In speaking to the Huffington Post Canada about the issue earlier this year, Netflix spokesperson Jenny McCabe blamed “the classic windowing systems that exist in the content world” as the problem.
“We believe that when you provide great content to people and you make it available they choose the legal route,” she said.
On their site, the WWE says it will be some time before the Network launches outside of the U.S.
"At this time, WWE Network is available only within the United States and all U.S. territories. WWE Network is expected to launch in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics by the end of 2014/early 2015,” reads the statement.