OTT or over-the-top platforms are audio and video hosting and streaming services that started out as content hosting platforms, but soon categorized out into the production and release of feature films, documentaries, short movies, and web series and are much different from television, print, or radio media.
These platforms offer a wide range of content and are mastering AI technology, to suggest users the content they are likely to view, based on their past viewership records on the platform. Many OTT platforms offer free content to users, while the platforms containing premium content generally charge a subscription fee monthly or annually.
What are the laws regulating the OTT platforms?
In India, there used to be no rules for regulating OTT platforms, but recently this new medium of entertainment has seen a lot of active users. This new form of digital media or social media platform has to have new guidelines set by the government to classify OTT platforms based on the choice of the content, a distinction based on adult movies and web series, and the regulation of charges of the platforms.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India(IAMAI), a representative body of the OTT platforms, has proposed a self-regulatory model to regulate the actions of the content made available on the streaming platform after a wide debate and discussion from the ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
What happens now to the OTT platforms?
After this, the government deciding to bring films and web series made available by the online content creators under the guidelines of Government, the main challenge before the OTT platforms would be to keep a check on the content.
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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