As of now, the Government has decided to regulate movies and series being released by Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, and Prime Video. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has been allowed to monitor the online content of Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+ Hotstar.
Below is a brief introduction of the three companies, Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, and Prime Video.
Netflix is a media services provider and technology company which headquarter is in Los Gatos, California. Their major service is to offer movies and TV shows to subscribers all over the world through online streaming. As recorded in April 2020, Netflix has more than 193 million paid subscribers.
Disney+ Hotstar is an Indian subscription streaming service. The company is owned and managed by Star India, a part of The Walt Disney Company, India. There is two available paid subscription available to users who are Premium and VIP. Services offered on premium are majorly international films and television series while VIP services include local programs and sports content. As of 2019, Disney+ Hotstar has 150 million users.
Prime Video is a popular, streaming service owned by Amazon Incorporated. Their services include the distribution of films and movies produced or licensed to Amazon studios. It currently has 150 million users.
Since the inception of these companies, the government didn’t interfere in anyone’s decision as regards streaming whichever movies or television shows they find interesting from these platforms. Recently, the Information and Broadcasting minister thought these platforms needed to have regulations.
The Advertising Standards Council of India, the Central Board of Film certification, the News Broadcasters Association, and the Press Council of India are all examples of organizations that regulate different content. Digital media platforms shouldn’t be an exception.
On November 9, 2020, the president of India, Ram Nath Kovind signed into law a new amendment to the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961 and the law became functional immediately. Now Government can regulate the content of Online media like Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar and Prime Video.
After the law has been put into place, streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, and Prime Video, will now be regulated with immediate effect. Print media and television channels will be regulated by the Press Council of India (PCI) and News Broadcasters Association (NBI) respectively.
In 2019, Prakash Javadekar, the Information, and Broadcasting minister said since print and electronic media has some form of regulations, over-the-top platforms should also have one. He added that the government will not take any step that will restrict media freedom.
Last month, the action was taken by the Supreme Court about a petition for the regulations of over-the-top platforms by an independent body. There was no monitoring of digital content on the platforms that were made available to viewers in the country. Based on this reason, the central government, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Mobile Association of India, received notices from the Supreme Court.
The notice revealed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cinemas and theatre will likely remain closed in the Country. “Over-the-top platforms and other media platforms are a great avenue for filmmakers and artists to release their content without receiving clearance certificates for their films and series from the censor board.” It stated.