A pet peeve of mine has long been that pesky geo-block on the RTE player that prevents me from watching certain programmes that I have missed.
Last night, I noticed a few people on Twitter commenting about the fact that the 1916 drama, Rebellion was not available in Northern Ireland.
In that spirit I decided to get in touch with RTE to understand what exactly was going on and why programmes like this were blocked for Northern viewers, despite RTE being available in Northern Ireland.
Low and behold RTE inform me that;
The rights for Rebellion have been cleared by RTÉ to be made available to viewers in all 32 counties on the island of Ireland.
if a user’s computer IP address indicates that they are located outside of the island of Ireland, their access will be blocked.
Unfortunately this is outside of RTÉ’s control as the IP address is issued by Internet Service providers directly to their customers. RTÉ certainly hopes that the series is seen by as many viewers as possible in all 32 counties. We would advise users to contact their service provider on this issue.
How does it work?
RTÉ Player enables access from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland using geo-access technology. Geo-access works on the basis that each computer has an individual IP number which acts like an address. This number is supplied to the computer by the user’s Internet Service Provider (ISP). Occasionally, a viewer in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland may have been issued with an IP address that indicates they are located outside the territory, and consequently they may be unable to gain access to content on RTÉ Player that does not have international rights.
But some bad news for international viewers;
Rebellion has not been cleared for international users on RTÉ Player International. Sundance TV will air the series in the US and the series is being marketed internationally by Zodiak Media and has already attracted significant interest from broadcasters abroad. We hope that it will be seen and enjoyed by as many viewers as possible in Ireland and around the world.
So the problem actually lies with the internet providers, rather than RTE’s geo-block.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs