Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji, Netflix and Eros Now also known as Online Curated Content Providers (OCCPs) have voluntarily signed a self-regulatory Code of Best Practices under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India [IAMAI]. The Code, which has been in the works for over a year, establishes guiding principles for Online Curated Content (OCC) Providers to conduct themselves in a responsible and transparent manner and at the same time ensures that consumer interests are protected.
The Objectives of this Code are to:
- Empower consumers to make informed choices on age-appropriate content;
- Protect the interests of consumers in choosing and accessing the content they want to watch, at their own time and convenience;
- Safeguard and respect creative freedom of content creators and artists;
- Nurture creativity, create an ecosystem fostering innovation and abide by an individual’s freedom of speech and expression; and
- Provide a mechanism for complaints redressal in relation to content made available by respective OCCPs.
The Constitutional framework of India upholds freedom of speech and expression, including commercial speech. The Online Curated Content Providers who are signatories to this Code, inter-alia seek to uphold the freedom as envisaged in the Constitution of India (including under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 19(1)(g)).
This effort highlights two key principles: To protect consumer interest while offering them a variety of content choices and exercising creative freedom. The code represents uniform principles and guidelines which will be adhered to by all signatories to the Code, in letter and spirit.
IAMAI and the signatory companies also expressed eagerness to collaborate with other players, under the principles in the Code.
Welcoming the initiative, Kshipra Jatana, Group General Counsel at Network18 Media & Investments, said, “This endeavor is a significant step forward in striking the right balance between defending creating freedom and protecting consumer interests. All the signatories to the code have agreed to adhere to and uphold the principles enshrined in the code both in form and in substance.” She added: We at Network18 group are excited to be a part of this initiative and build a better future for digital India.”
Commenting on the code, Ashok Nambissan, General Counsel, Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited said: “Self-regulation encourages creativity and makes content creators more responsive to their viewers. It’s worked well for broadcast media and there’s no reason for it does not do so for curated video content. We are happy to be part of this industry initiative.”
According to a BCG report titled “Entertainment Goes Online” released in 2018, video content delivered through the internet is expected to reach a market size of USD 5 billion (INR 35,730 Cr) by 2023. The OCC industry plays a prominent role in the Indian creative economy and has the potential to make India a creative hub of the world.VOD has transformed the way that content is created and consumed by employing advanced technology to provide consumers flexibilities related to the viewing of content at time, place and device(s) of their choice.―BCS Bureau