Online video viewing services are generally dominated by the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar, with broadcasters like YuppTV, Hooq and Spuul being slightly in a position of disadvantage. As a consequence, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is reportedly evaluating a consultation process to regulate online video streaming platforms.
As LiveMint reports, TRAI has received several requests from industry stakeholders to develop a framework of the pricing and economy for the video streaming platforms. For the same, the regulator has been requested to add a separate section on such platforms in the soon-to-be-released consultation paper for over-the-top (OTT) 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,” LiveMint reported a person familiar with the development, saying.
This issue has apparently been raised due to 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.
The publication quotes Anil Malhotra, chief operating officer at Zee Group-owned cable company Siti Networks Ltd, saying, “OTT (video streaming) must be regulated. It is just another form of IPTV. On the basis of just a few differentiations, one cannot say that OTT is outside the purview of regulation and no law of land should apply to it,” he said.