OTT platforms coming under IB ministry means for Netflix, others

#GS2 #GOVERNANCE #GS3 #ECONOMY #TECHNOLOGY

The move to bring the OTT platforms under the I&B ministry could also mean that these platforms would have to apply for approval of the content they wish to stream. This in itself is likely to give rise to many conflicts as most OTT platforms have content that could otherwise be censored in India.

  • The government has brought video streaming over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Hotstar, and others under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 
  • These platforms were so far under the purview of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • With a market size of nearly Rs 500 crore at the end of March 2019, the online video streaming platforms may become a Rs 4000-crore revenue market by the end of 2025, according to reports. At the end of 2019, India had as many as 17 crore OTT platform users.
  • OTT, or over-the-top platforms, are audio and video hosting and streaming services which started out as content hosting platforms, but soon branched out into the production and release of short movies, feature films, documentaries and web-series themselves.
  • So far in India, there are no laws or rules regulating OTT platforms as it is a relatively new medium of entertainment. 
  • Unlike television, print or radio, which follow guidelines released by governments, OTT platforms, classified as digital media or social media, had little to no regulation on the choice of content they offered, the subscription rates, certification for adult movies and others.

Conclusion

The central government’s move to bring the OTT platforms under the I&B Ministry could also mean that these platforms would have to apply for certification and approval of the content they wish to stream. This in itself could give rise to many conflicts as most OTT platforms have content that could otherwise be censored by the certification boards in India. OTT platforms are likely to resist any plans to censor the content being provided and streamed by them as these platforms have often chosen to produce movies and documentaries on politically sensitive but relevant topics. It will also have to be seen as to what guidelines, if any, does the I&B ministry put in place for regulating these OTT platforms.

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