This article was originally written for Lovin Dubai. Click here to read the full article.
So, as many of you might already know, Netflix finally became available seemingly without warning in the UAE last week. It’s been a long time coming, but at the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last Wednesday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced that the streaming service was rolling out simultaneously in more than 130 countries around the world and the UAE is thankfully one of those countries.
While many expats in the UAE use the service already through a VPN, an official launch gives viewers more options for using the service and finally lets us sign-up using UAE payment methods. After having the weekend to binge watch a host of shows we finally have a good idea about what the UAE version of the service offers content-wise.
Is it censored?
In short; no. One of the concerns that seemed to come up quite a lot on social media channels when the announcement was made was whether or not the content would face the same scrutiny from the censors as we tend to see with films that reach the cinema. We’re quite used to seeing chunks of movies being removed and many social commentators assumed that this would be the case with services like Netflix too.
From our experience over the weekend though, this certainly doesn’t seem to be the case. We’ve come across quite a few scenes that definitely wouldn’t see the light of day at the cinema if you know what we mean!
While it doesn’t appear that content has been specifically censored in the UAE, there is still the issue of regional licensing agreements that have resulted in certain content not appearing on the service in general outside of the USA. For example, as OSN have the rights to show House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black in the UAE, even though Netflix actually commissioned and produced these shows themselves, they can’t stream them on their own service in the UAE. Other shows like The Office, Suits, Dexter, Lost and Modern Family also don’t make the cut for the same reasons.