TRAI evaluating a regulatory framework for video streaming platforms like Netflix and Hotstar

Citing multiple requests from stakeholders to develop a framework for video streaming platforms, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is now said to be evaluating a consultation process to regulate online video streaming platforms.

The Netflix logo is pictured on a television remote. Image: Reuters

The Netflix logo is pictured on a television remote. Image: Reuters

Stakeholders have been requesting TRAI to set up a regulatory framework, from both a pricing and an economic standpoint, for platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and broadcaster-owned platforms Hotstar, Voot and SonyLIV. In a report by Livemint, the primary cause of concern for cable companies and other players is that a number of broadcasters are airing content on their video streaming platforms for free while making the same content chargeable on direct-to-home (DTH) and cable services.

This poses a major threat to cable networks and DTH service providers who are noticing a shift in users to online streaming platforms. Sources close to the regulatory authority state in the report that the framework may be added to a section in a consultation paper for over-the-top (OTT) platforms, which is expected soon.

Speaking to the publication, a source said, “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.”

The report also points out that the union health ministry has also written to TRAI regarding the enforcement of video-streaming platforms to comply with anti-tobacco rules. The letter was received by the regulator after the ministry observed a flouting of anti-tobacco rules by companies.

Updated Date: Feb 01, 2018 18:30 PM