Streaming service providers in India have signed a self-regulatory code. This allows them to work with guidelines that ensure that the content on their platforms meets the desired standards of India’s community without the involvement of the government.
The code was created by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMIA) and has been signed by 15 companies including Disney Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, MX Player and Eros Now.
Part of the provisions of the code, which is named Universal Self-Regulation Code for Online Curated Content Providers, demands that each provider sets up a consumer complaints department and, or an internal committee. An advisory panel is to be set up as well comprising at least three people.
The advisory panel has to have an independent external advisor and two senior executives of the streaming service provider.
The purpose of the committees is to give consumers a structured and transparent way of reporting their grievances if the content providers do not comply with the frameworks established by the code. There are frameworks for age classification and content descriptions for titles as well as access control tools.
In March, India’s government announced a 100-day ultimatum for the streaming service industry to form an independent adjudicatory body and adopt a new self-regulation code. The body would develop the code to moderate television content and offer some form of censorship in India.
The IAMAI, which was formed 16 years ago, responded with the code which has been signed by 15 content providers operating in India.
Being able to self-regulate is a better option for the companies as it prevents guidelines from the government that could stifle their creativity and operations.
In Nigeria, the National Broadcasting Commission has attempted to introduce regulations for PayTV and Video-on-Demand that will require that they sub-license their content to other broadcasters at a price that the NBC will regulate.
This, though not yet passed into law, will require that the companies that refuse either have a rethink and comply or pay a fine of N10 million. Companies like Netflix, IrokoTV, and Africa Magic, that have a lot of investment in original content will bear the brunt because the potential gains from their investment will not be fully realized if it their original and exclusive content is sub-licensed.
India’s step of having a united body and creating self-regulatory frameworks to guarantee consumer satisfaction and align with government policies is helping it avoid unfavorable regulations from the government.
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