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R21+ content to be hidden behind PIN: Netflix

While most Netflix original shows are also available on its service outside of the US, some, like House Of Cards, are currently unavailable due to global licensing issues, says a spokesperson.

SINGAPORE: R21+ content, the highest rating category on Netflix, will be hidden behind a PIN, a spokesperson for the streaming service revealed on Thursday (Jan 7). This includes shows such as Netflix's own Orange Is The New Black. 

In response to queries from Channel NewsAsia, following the launch of Netflix in more than 130 countries, the spokesperson said that some content on its service will be locked behind a PIN "in certain markets where such a practice is expected by our members or required by applicable law".

"As mentioned previously, we remain sensitive to preferences of members where we operate. Netflix will continue to make market-specific decisions based on the preferences of our members," said the spokesperson.

As of right now, some shows may not yet be available to Singapore viewers. Netflix had previously said it was working with the Media Development Authority (MDA) to ensure content shown was within broadcasting regulations. A Netflix spokesperson declined to reveal the progress of its talks with MDA, saying it "will handle content classification on a case-by-case basis". 

The spokesperson also declined to reveal the number of titles available for the Singapore market due to a constantly "expanding and changing" catalogue, but promised more content to come.

"After we launch in a given market, we will almost immediately add more content to the service and in most markets the size of the catalogue doubles in the first year," said the spokesperson.

A check by Channel NewsAsia also revealed that some of Netflix's original shows are not available in Singapore - such as House Of Cards, Arrested Development and Sense8. The Netflix spokesperson said that for some of these shows, this is due to rights issues.

"Most of our originals content will be available globally," said the spokesperson. "However, with the likes of House of Cards, we didn’t negotiate global licenses to the content and so the rights sits with other platforms."

"We may get them back in some of our new markets, but have nothing further to announce at this time," he added. "With regards to our fully owned and produced Netflix originals moving forward, these will all be available to every market and go live at exactly the same time globally."

Season 3 of House Of Cards aired on RTL CBS Entertainment HD in Singapore on the same day as its launch on Netflix in the US. 

Netflix launched in Singapore on Thursday after its announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Subscription plans in Singapore start from S$10.98 a month, with the first month free. The basic plan includes streaming to one device in standard definition quality. The premium service is S$16.98. The plans are slightly cheaper than in the US, where a basic plan costs US$7.99.