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Prasar Bharati OTT to launch early next year, will impact live streaming

Prasar Bharati is planning to create its own Over-The-Top (OTT) platform for its content. The goal is to make its content available for all “citizens in India, including remotest village and the global audience.”

Prasar Bharati will provide a multi-screen service for users to use mobile/tablet devices to search, discover, and research content. Users will get an a-la-carte feature to self-purchase channels, packages and contents. This will include all genres of entertainment including sports like cricket.

Aside from sports streaming, Prasar Bharati will also offer messaging services to all its users, an interesting announcement considering the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) consultation paper on OTT platforms with communication services.

This is a significant development, and is causing major ripples.

What will the impact of this move be on:

  • Competition and privacy as far as messaging is concerned.
  • Will the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) that has the telecasting and broadcasting rights share the feed when it came to the streaming of cricket matches. Are cricket matches considered live broadcasting signals of sporting events of “national importance”?

As pointed out by SS Rana and Co., a leading law firm, the term “national importance” is not defined by the Act. To address this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, after consulting the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Prasar Bharati, notified a list of sporting events of “national importance.” The firm also mentioned an agreement between Prasar Bharati and Star India about the livestreaming of certain “important IPL matches” on DD Sports after an hour’s delay. From a legal perspective, it is apparent that there is some vagueness in the law at least in the case of statutory licensing.
BCS Bureau

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