India regulates streaming services and online content

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(Updates to add industry comment, details)

By Sankalp Phartiyal

NEW DELHI, November 11 (Reuters) – Indian federal government to regulate content on video streaming platforms, including global services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Walt Disney DIS.N Hotstar from (NYSE :), under rules announced this week.

India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will oversee streaming video content, which was previously unregulated, a brief government circular announced on Tuesday, without providing further details.

Earlier this year, more than a dozen local and global streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hotstar, signed a code of self-regulation.

India’s Internet and mobile lobby group and Netflix declined to comment, while Amazon and Hotstar did not respond to requests for comment.

Filmmaker Vikram Malhotra said the industry will have to “wait and watch” as government regulation of online content unfolds.

“My only concern is that the rules that currently govern access to content, as well as its creation and distribution on other platforms, cannot and should not be simply applied to online media,” said Malhotra, whose studio Abunduntia Entertainment produces films and shows, notably for Amazon Prime Video.

Streaming services have gained traction in India due to the availability of affordable smartphones and cheap mobile data, making the South Asian nation a battleground for Amazon, Netflix and Disney as they seek to expand. outside their home markets.

This growth in streaming services, along with internet advertising, sports and music, is expected to help India’s media and entertainment industry grow by 10.1% per year on average to $ 55 billion by 2024, predicts PwC.

News and current affairs content on online media, such as Facebook and Twitter TWTR.N, will also be subject to the new regulatory regime, the government circular added. Online news was previously unregulated.

Twitter and Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.

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