78% OTT users want more info on code of regulation: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 15, 2021 Published on

Concerned about age limits, threats to artists, directors and producers

As over-the-top (OTT) platforms increasingly become primary sources of entertainment, viewers are debating on a code of conduct and the need for self-regulation on such platforms.

LocalCircles conducted its OTT survey 2021 to “better understand users’ pulse on how they used OTT in 2020, what worked well along with any concerns.” The survey received over 50,000 responses from OTT users located in 311 districts of India.

Also read: 17 OTT players adopt ‘toolkit’ for self-regulation

According to the survey, a majority of users are looking to know more about the code of conduct being adopted by such platforms. Last week, 17 online streaming providers had announced the adoption of an ‘implementation toolkit’, under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), which they say is in furtherance to the Universal Self-Regulation Code the body had introduced in September.

78 per cent of OTT users said they want more information on the OTT code of regulation or conduct.

The government had rejected this code and has said that it will soon issue guidelines for the regulation of OTT platforms.

Some survey participants were not in favour of any government regulation citing that movies and shows on OTT platforms are a depiction of society.

Minimum age requirement

“One area where OTT users agreed was the need for the code of regulation or conduct to define the content type in detail, along with the rating. Some users cited the example of a few platforms where 18+ is accompanied with content description, i.e. Nudity, Language, Violence, etc. This will permit certain users to stay away from the content type they would rather not watch,” LocalCircles said.

Consumers agreed on wanting OTT platforms to clearly display a minimum age requirement for viewing specific content. 45 per cent of OTT users said that a minimum age requirement for viewing a specific content should be displayed more clearly on OTT platforms.

Also read: Certification-vs-regulation of OTT platforms under IT Committee radar

“While some platforms are doing this quite effectively including enabling a separate profile for children based on their age, all platforms must do the same. Some consumers have suggested that a standard approach be followed by all OTT platforms so that the minimum age becomes easily identifiable and appropriate consumer awareness be created about the same,” said the report.

Other concerns

Apart from regulation, another major concern among viewers were the growing threats of violence against artists, directors and producers of movies and shows with 70 per cent of users stating that they were worried about the same.

“Many of the members who participated in the discussion on the subject said that such threats should have no place in society and if they are not acted upon sternly and swiftly by law enforcement agencies, they will only increase over time,” the report said.

“According to many OTT users, the concern or grievance of an individual or a group of individuals or an organisation must be raised through appropriate pre-defined government channels,” it added.

OTT platforms have gained massive popularity, especially over the past year. According to the survey, for 41 per cent of consumers, OTT platforms were the primary source of video-based entertainment in 2020. 76 per cent of the OTT users in India subscribe to two or more OTT platforms. Consumers are relying on such platforms due to choice, convenience and high-quality content.

“OTT platforms in 2020 have been a sought-after source of entertainment for many as people stayed home and multiplexes and cinemas stayed closed for most of the year. However, as the industry evolves and common standards are created, OTT users demand better definition and display of the minimum age requirement and rating certification so they can make informed choices of what they want to watch,” LocalCircles summarised its report.

“Also, consumers are keen that the code of regulation, whatever approved by the government, is shared with them and made easily accessible on the platforms,” it added.

“Finally, majority of the Indian OTT users are concerned about the violence and death threats being issued to artists, directors and producers, and want that effective grievance channels must be created to address concerns of individuals or groups, but such threats should not be tolerated and stern and swift action must be taken by law enforcement agencies against those issuing such threats,” it further added.

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Published on February 15, 2021
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