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Regulating OTT platforms isn’t easy

Regulating OTT platforms isn’t easy
The government and policy makers should be aware that the business models for OTT services vary widely and depend heavily upon the market and competition.


Regulating OTT platforms isn’t easy

The growth of OTT platforms in India has definitely been the demand and lack of clear regulation. But now that the I&B Ministry has pulled over-the-top platforms and digital news media into its purview, things have not gotten any easier. In fact, it has become complicated.

It should be noted that existing regulations in neighboring countries were developed with more static industries in mind so that, although the internet firms may infringe on the business of legacy industries, these regulations weren’t designed to deal with such players. The dynamic nature of the internet demands regulations which continuously evolve rather than being designed as static documents. Experts believe that policy makers and the government need to recognize the manifold positive impacts it has had on everyday lives, It is imperative that any move towards regulation should serve as a catalyst to drive additional opportunities and create effective competition.

The internet should be seen as a source of creative destruction, it can be considered as the dismantling force for several legacy industries such as print news. But at the same time it brings about a new wave of opportunities, making services and content accessible to a larger audience. And as this is happening on a global scale, attempts made by governments to stop it, has seen diverse effects, with the most common being a ‘negative impact on the overall development of the country’. As such, each and every measure must be understood and the effects of the interventions weighed up. Moreover, decisions must take time into consideration.

Also Read: OTT platforms and digital news platforms fall under I&B Ministry now

The government and policy makers should be aware that the business models for OTT services vary widely and depend heavily upon the market, customer segment and competition. Experts point out that OTT media is mainly concerned with the distribution of video and audio data, thus this is not a traditional subject for ICT regulation. It illustrates the issue concerning the organization of regulation, and the need for a converged regulatory framework for converged service offerings. Furthermore, the market keeps transforming and evolving as per the demand. Competitive imbalances between traditional providers and new market players must be evaluated and reflected in the regulation. Then there is the rights of the consumers, individuals and subscribers which must be protected and upheld. The basic rights of individuals and society must be protected by legal and regulatory measures. The most important point of all is that the market players, that is the OTT platforms, should be provided with the business security.

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