The Central government this month announced that Over The Top (OTT) platforms and video streaming service providers like Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon etc will be brough under Information and Broadcasting Ministry. This notification has created quite a stir in the world of internet as there was no law or autonomous body governing the digital content before this.
A petition was filed by advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha in October that asked for setting up of an autonomous body to monitor and also filter content on these OTT platforms. He mentioned that OTT platforms have created a space for artists and movie makers to make content without any censorship.
Currently, traditional medias such as Films are under the surveillance of Central Board of Film Certification while the Press Council of India represents the Print Media. Television News Channels are overlooked by News Broadcasters Association.
What exactly is OTT?
Over The Top media service is an online audio and video streaming services that are delivered to the customers over the web. The term could be denoted to audio streaming, hosting, message services, video on demand, and internet-based voice calling. Such platforms initially started out as content hosting platforms but later grew into short films, documentaries, web series, production etc. Many OTT platforms offer certain stuff for free and then ask for subscription either monthly or yearly from their users. The platforms have created spaces for artists to bring out their content with authenticity without any filtration. The platforms also make artificial intelligence come in handy by recommending the users shows/content they are likely to watch.
Before this notification by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, led by Prakash Javadekar, no laws were regulating the OTT platforms. The whole debate about surveillance of the online content had been in existence ever since the advent of new media.
The hassles and challenges online content providers and news/current affairs will face is that to keep a check on the work they post. They might also need to go under the process of certification and approval in order to publish their work, which may include censorship also. This might face resistance from the OTT platforms who might speak against censorship as the content that they have been putting out which made them stand out from the traditional media is the content that is relevant, political and unique topics.
The reason why OTT is preferred in contrary to the traditional media is the promise of authentic and original content, high value of the content at a low cost and could be set up in multiple devices. Owing to the internet dependent delivery system, OTT platforms rule out networks that earlier managed online content. Customers only require an internet connection and a compatible device, like Smart TVs, Mobile Devices, Personal computers and Digital Media Players.
All in all, OTT platforms are here to stay and also to flourish. Government knows this very well and hence, wants to control and monitor it. Competition and increasing diversification and many new opportunities suggest the growing popularity of the OTT platforms.