Monday, September 20, 2021

IT code may impact telecom giants with plans to expand OTT offerings

Top Indian telecom majors including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea with over the top (OTT) platform arms are set to face the scrutiny of new IT guidelines issued by the Centre last month.

The new set of regulations that are set to come into force in three months will ensure that these companies put in place the mechanism to comply with the new IT code. The government move comes at a time when more and more telecom players are looking at digital offerings via OTT platforms to rake in additional revenue.

The new OTT guidelines issued by the Centre look to ensure that OTT players and social media platforms such as Twitter and WhatsApp are more accountable for the content on their platforms while complying with local laws and government orders.

The new norms are likely to impact the OTT expansion plans by telecom giants including Reliance Jio, which streams content via apps like Jio Cinema, Jio TV. Telecom market leader Airtel streams content via Airtel Xstream while Vodafone Idea streams content through Vi Movies and TV, etc. Some of the major OTT streaming service providers include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, MX Player.

In the new IT code, the government has also put in place a three-tier redressal system, with the Information and Broadcasting ministry exercising complete oversight over the process. An independent self-regulatory body headed by a retired high court or Supreme Court judge will decide on matters related to the content, as per the new mechanism.


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