The absolute ultimate example of this trope is Hulu, which you've probably seen linked to in a forum (or, increasingly, a news page). It constantly bills itself as offering free (albeit ad-supported), legal TV over the Internet, and they're right... as long as you live in the right part of America. If you're not, all you get is "We're sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States." Note that this even applies to shows which air legally on regular TV outside America — you can't even watch an episode that aired last week which you might have missed. The only other country that currently has access to Hulu is Japan.
Hulu has also specifically blocked the PlayStation 3, which was briefly fully capable of playing video from the site in your living room. It now forces you to buy a paid premium service if you ever visit the site on a console, handheld or mobile device.
This is particularly frustrating if the only reason you find yourself outside the United States is because you enlisted in its armed forces and are currently deployed overseas.
Additionally frustrating now that Hulu has begun hosting exclusive series such as the award-winning Pink, though the series eventually was made available (officially) through YouTube, after everyone had stopped caring.
Hulu is the worst offender in this regard in the anime market. Anime producers back in Japan always treat the United States and Canada as a single market when licencing out their titles, but when a North American distributor puts any anime titles it has licenced exclusively on Hulu, Canadian fans of said titles are left with essentially no legal way of streaming them online. The most infamous North American distributor that does this is Viz Media. It has had a contract with Hulu ever since 2008 to carry its subtitled anime releases in the United States, and has not had an equivalent agreement in place for Canada since the failure of Joost in 2009. And since April of 2014, all of Viz Media's English-dubbed releases are subject to this blackout in Canada as well. Viz had maintained for two years that it would have a way for Canadians to watch its streaming offerings "soon", but as all external indications said it would never happen, Viz subsequently withdrew that statement.
Hulu is the main example of this trope, but Netflix has the dubious honor of coming in second place. The service isn't available in East Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and most of Asia (Japan is the only exception). Strangely, they're also not available in half of the EU, including Spain and Italynote as of November 2015, Netflix is now available in Portugal. In 2011, they even stated that they will not bother with New Zealand due allegedly sub-par Internet connections and data caps(egregiously, something that even exists in their home territory, North America). However, after what can be described as the largest Internet Backdraft of the millennium with many of New Zealanders pointing out the hypocrisy, they've eaten their words and launched the service in New Zealand.
Finally averted at the start of 2016, when Netflix launched a surprise announcement that they're now available literally worldwide. The only countries that can't get them are Crimea, Syria, North Korea and China, the former 3 due to US sanctions, and the latter one being, well, China.
The BBC iPlayer does this to anyone and everyone outside the UK, even continental Europeans who have access to all the BBC channels. Which is because to watch TV in the UK, you must pay the license fee, which funds the BBC.
If that's the reason they give, it's a lie. You don't need to pay the license fee to use iPlayer in the UK, if you only watch shows after they've been broadcast live. And as mentioned below, ITV/4oD/Five do the same thing, and they're not funded by the license fee at all.
Other TV networks in the UK. i.e. ITV, Four and Five does this as well.
The Belgian/Dutch public channel versions of the iPlayer are also not available to foreigners.
On top of this, the Moral Guardians made ARD (German public channel) block people from viewing 12+ content on their version of the iPlayer before their watershed. Making the whole service less than useful.
Update: as of late July 2011 BBC iPlayer was made available to European users, albeit for a fee. To the rest of the world however, it still remains No Export For You.
Update: since at least 2012 there has been an international version of iPlayer available which allows viewing of a selected number of shows for free (usually stuff like old episodes of Doctor Who and a fee-based service for other content. Not everything available on iPlayer in the UK is available on the international version, however, and the fee-based service is largely only open to European countries, the Americas and Asians still get the short end of the stick. And to make things worse, in 2014 there are rumors that the service may get discontinued due to budget cuts...
The ABC Australia's iView service also performs this stupidity; the only difference is that Australians were never required to pay for a TV license. The reason given by the service is that it's not available overseas due to copyright reasons. Sure, that gives you the right to block imported content that airs on pay channels elsewhere (i.e. Madeline), but why are shows produced by the ABC themselves also blocked?
YouTube has bouts of idiocy where it suddenly blocks access to an official music video by an international artist in certain countries. To make matters worse, about 85% of music videos in YouTube would be moved to a service named Vevo, which is basically Hulu for music videos (complete with the US-only availability).
Youtube is officially in the list for people outside the US and UK. Almost all official content on the site may be blocked from viewers whose IP address is known to be from outside the US or UK, depending on the content providers' whim and fancy. If they're feeling generous, you get content without sound. Otherwise, you won't be able to access the content at all, even if the content's a 8-bit remix of a copyrighted song, i.e. D-Pad Hero clips, which is stupid considering the fact that D-Pad Hero is homebrew and can be freely downloaded by anyone from just about anywhere in the world.
Gema talks have broken down and now we can add Germany to the list of countries where Youtube has less functionality.
It goes from annoying to downright rage inducing when certain videos from US and UK-based record labels block videos in countries from where the artist is from.
However, quite a bit of video content from "geo-locked" websites often ends up on YouTube worldwide.
To add to this, companies have the power to block videos with copyrighted footage from certain countries. Even countries where the user who uploaded said video came from.
Some channels that can legally upload entire episodes, like MANGAentertainment, will have the rather grating habit of region-locking a few episodes, but not the rest of the same series. So, your experience will be something like: "Whoa, they took it to a whole new level! Wonder what's going to happen to Kamina in the next episooOoh no, you've got to be kidding!" give or take a couple long groan of frustration.
Toei's YouTube Channel has this also for other countries, similar to MANGA's above.
It can get to a point where the YouTube video could be blocked in every country, courtesy of a DMCA takedown.
While most radio stations have no qualms about webstreaming worldwide (although some do replace the commercials), many Clear Channel stations block webstreaming outside of the US for something over licensing.
And CBS Radio jumped on the "No Streaming For You" bandwagon in early 2010.
Disney's been doing it on and off with Radio Disney. When they launched in the late 90s, it was available as a RealPlayer stream worldwide. Then it went down for decentralization in late 1999. They started transmitting again in early 2000, but now because each state has their own RD affiliate, having online streaming now seems unlikely. Then Apple carried the New York Affiliate over Quick Time 4 as a showcase of their then-new Quick Time Streaming Media feature in early-2002. Then the stream stopped and Disney remerges back into a single network circa 2004, and it was at this time that the no export madness started- Apparently they started transmitting internationally again in 2005, but stopped soon after. By then the station had gone through Network Decay anyway and many international listeners who tuned in for the oldies and lullabies slots are no longer interested because those slots are long gone.
Up to 90% of the traffic generated by thepiratebay.org are American TV-shows that have been recorded the night before.
Of course, considering the popularity of American shows in many foreign markets, popular American shows are guaranteed to be exported.
Not always true: there's a lot of British/American shows that will never be aired again despite critical/commercial acclaim.
Some of Microsoft's services, such as Windows Marketplace and Games for Windows Live are only available in selected countries. Sure, the list is long, but it doesn't cover all of the world, much to the dismay of anyone living in the remaining countries.
For reasons incomprehensible to the human mind, Nickelodeon UK/US and Disney UK/US does this for video clips hosted on their sites as well.
Kewlopolis' Kewltoons video on demand site does this as well, despite the content on their site being either aired on TV elsewhere in the world or readily available on DVDs.
The BBC's official Doctor Who website often makes original content available - webisodes, software, etc - but blocks access to anyone outside the UK. The irony being most video-related content shows up on tube sites within minutes anyway.
This is particularly true of a series of free Adventure Games released since 2010. Although the games are later issued internationally for a fee via a third-party service, it qualifies as Bad Exportfor You due to the fact only the Windows version of the games is circulated, and not the Mac OS version available in the UK.
It should be noted that during the 2011 season of Doctor Who, international access improved somewhat on the Doctor Who site, with some videos now being made available for international viewing, specifically a series of online episode prequels. Others, like interviews and some trailers, remained geolocked. Videos related to the spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures remain UK-only.
"Rai televisione" (Rai television), a TV station that was created to help expanding Italian culture, has a service called "Televisione diretta" (Direct television) which allows people to watch it online: ... but it's only available if you live in Italy.
The video-sharing site Veoh decided to block access to its site in multiple countries. According to them, this was due to the relatively low amount of traffic coming from said countries.
Australia gets screwed arguably the worst by this. It has games simply vanish from the service, and if they aren't, a lot of them charge two to three times as much as an American version of the game for the exact same thing. The worst example of this was Call of Duty, which was listed at the most expensive prices (which are all in Us Dollars).. the Australian dollar proceeded to tank, increasing the price to over $120 USD.
It's the publisher of the game that tells Valve whether or not to make a game available in a region, and also dictate the price of the game in the region. So if Bully isn't available in your Steam store, don't blame Valve, blame 2K Games. And if Dead Space 2 costs US$14.99 in your area instead of US$4.99 elsewhere during the Steam Summer Sales, blame EA, not Valve. That said, we in South East Asia share your pain—yeah, they're pricing it at US$14.99 in South East Asia too...
And now it has conspired that Asia will get the Steam PC ports of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy in Japanese only, while other regions will be getting it in both English and Japanese. Not many Asians outside Japan can speak Japanese (especially so in South Korea where anti-Nippon sentiments run deep among the older folks). Forcing their language in the face of those who cannot speak it is surely an act of suicide. Even worse are the "classic" Final Fantasy titles (Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI), which for some reason isn't available on Steam in Asia, and they have no reason to not make it available because it is available in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store in the region. Aside from that, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance aren't available on Steam in Asia either- Konami intends to keep it a PS3 exclusive in Asia.
Australia and Germany get an inferior version of Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 compared to the rest of the world due to the Moral Guardians' meddling, and this is made possible thanks to Steam's ability to region-lock.note The uncensored version of L4D2 was finally released in Australia when its new rating was introduced specifically designed for M-rated games. The same can not be said for Germany, though (but hey, at least they get some Counter-Strike weapons no one else can normally get).
Many of Nickelodeon's tie-in websites start their life as being open to all countries, but slowly have mirrored regional sites created which then completely blocks all access outside the US and Cananda. These mirror sites are sometimes years behind the current US site, and reflect that many of the regional Nick affiliates are years behind the airing schedule. They are rarely updated with the tie-in/bonus videos that the US site is, and when they are, it's usually just plugging the latest episode that airs 8 months after it aired in the US. The worst offenders are the iCarly and Victorious tie-in sites, which makes watching the ending credits of their shows a bit infuriating...
Fortunately, some countries that don't have local versions of the tie-in sites can access the US iCarly and The Slap sites. What countries can access them, however, is yet to be found out...
However, there's still hope to access the US versions of the sites... Those in other countries just have to add "origin." before the whole site url.
The Hub. Good lord, The Hub... Considering that the content is mostly owned by Hasbro themselves, you'd think they'd make the video clips on the site available internationally to promote the toys. But noooooo, it's only available to the US. This is especially rage inducing in certain parts of the world where you can't get said shows due to the stupidity of the local pay TV providers. Physical transmission? Not happening either—the channel is not available outside of the US.
As of current, there's no Philippine Feed of Disney Channel. it's either the Walt Disney company is lazy to make one or They Just Didn't Care. Not to mention there's no South East Asia version of Disney XD (Well, Malaysia and Singapore has it, but the rest of the region? eh...). Well, out of the 4 international youth channels in the Philippines, only three (Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Animax) have Philippine feeds separate from other countries' versions.
On the other hand, not everyone who lives in a country with regional feeds likes having one either, due to the feed being full of "hijacked" programming (read: local shows that are not by the company and shouldn't be on the channel in the first place, but are injected into the feed for no good reason) or even censorship (i.e. Animax Malaysia has a lot of the more risque anime exorcised and replaced with more reruns when said anime is airing in other markets).
The generic feed though, might be a bit subjected to Network Decay because despite being for Asians (and shared by the entire region), The feed still acts like Malaysians and Singaporeans still have more say on the feed than Thais, Filipinos, Indonesians and Vietnamese (One example: Christmas 2009's So Syok Holidays's promo was only open to Malaysians and Singaporeans than to the whole region, not to mention the main feed is near to act like the Malaysian feed (because recent months show that the main feed is now a dumping place for Malaysian content the other countries don't want anyway), one show is with subtitles instead of dubbed.) So yeah.
Speaking of Animax, that channel has yet to be available in North America.
Speaking of the aforementioned Disney Channel above, Ever wished to have a complete boxset of any Disney Channel Original Series in North America? Sadly, they're only available outside North America, in regions 2, 3 and 4, so the only way to watch these is both buying a region-free player and importing them. Only Lizzie McGuire and Hannah Montana had complete boxsets (but full seasons only though)—Season 1 for the former and seasons 1 and 4 for the latter available in the US.
There are still countries in the world where Google doesn't offer Google Play Store access outside of just apps. Meaning: No music and movies for you! (And if you're in China, no apps for you, even!note This is more due to the Great Firewall, though. Google has recently started to negotiate with the Chinese government for a way to provide the Google Play Store in China.)
Likewise, Microsoft's Windows Music and TV/Movies store, after being made available worldwide with the launch of Windows 10, is becoming unavailable again in a lot of parts of the world with the launch of the Fall update of Windows 10.note It was possible to trick the system into thinking that you're in an area that these stores are available in by editing the regional settings, which is also how you're able to access Cortana from outside of a supported region. Many users feel that Microsoft has tricked them into upgrading to Windows 10 because of the fact. Additionally, this move has the side effect of shutting down the Groove music player as well...
THE BRIAN BLESSED ALARM CLOCK APP FOR IOS AND ANDROID. What better way to start your day BY GETTING YELLED AT AND INSULTED BY THE LARGEST HAM IN THE WORLD? Sadly, if you live outside the UK, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET IT, PERIOD.
BBC Entertainment Asia became unavailable to Malaysia in December 2015 (This isn't the first time, the Channel was unavailable in Malaysia between 2009 and 2012 either). However, the drop happened during the initial run of Series 9 of Doctor Who- anything after The Zygon Inversion has not aired in the country. Both cable providers in the country and BBC Entertainment themselves have been unapologetic, and Malaysian Whovians are becoming frustrated and annoyed.