The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is reportedly planning to regulate online streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and more. The regulator could evaluate a consultation process for the same.
According to a report by Live Mint, the regulator has received multiple requests from industry stakeholders to bring a pricing and economic framework for the online video streaming platforms. The report further mentions that the operator has been requested to add a separate section on such platforms in the soon-to-be-released consultation paper for over-the-top (OTP) platforms like Skype, WhatsApp and Viber.
“The stakeholders have expressed concern that certain broadcasters are airing same content through internet channels as through direct-to-home (DTH) platforms and cable operators. Trai is examining the issue. It will most likely be a part of the OTT consultation if a decision to consult is reached,” sources close to the development told the publication.
The issue has been raised due to the disparity in cost of content. Reportedly, certain broadcasters are airing content on their video streaming platforms for free, while the same content is chargeable on DTH and cable networks, which pose a threat to the latter.
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This would be interesting as there is no fixed law to regulate content on video streaming platforms. “The regulation is a threat to the OTT space and internet. Nowhere in the world has such a framework been introduced; a producer has a right to distribute his content whatever way he wants. Introducing regulatory framework in such a situation will adversely impact innovation and availability of such services” said another source.