TRAI mulls cable operators’ concerns, may regulate OTT platforms Netflix, Amazon Prime, others

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Direct-to-home (DTH) platforms and cable operators raising concerns against online video streaming platforms was long overdue as they have silently captured the screens and are providing high-quality and ad-free content.

They have expressed concern that certain broadcasters are airing same content through internet channels as through direct-to-home (DTH) platforms and cable operators.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has received requests from industry stakeholders to develop a (pricing and economic) framework for the video streaming platforms.

The regulatory body, which is going to release a consultation paper for over-the-top (OTT) platforms (like Skype, WhatsApp and Viber), may talk about regulating online video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar, according to Mint.

According to complainants to TRAI, OTT is just another form of IPTV and must be regulated.

The other stakeholder says that Internet protocol television (IPTV) also requires registration with the information and broadcasting ministry before providing TV broadcasting services to users.

They opposed such regulatory interventions and said that regulation is a threat to the OTT space and internet. A producer has a right to distribute his content whatever way he wants.

In the wake of such regulatory frameworks, innovation and availability of such services will be adversely affected.

In past few years, online video streaming platforms have grown immensely. The sector has been dominated by global players such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Besides, broadcaster-owned platforms Hotstar and Voot, and SonyLIV and independent video-on-demand service providers like YuppTV, Hooq and Spuul are some of the other players in this segment.

Most countries have been light on regulating video streaming, with the exception of China, where companies have to comply with local licensing requirements and certain telecom service permits, the report added.

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