Video streaming services in India, including Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime, have signed up to a self-regulation code. This is an attempt to have a universal content regulation code for content streamed on these OTT platforms, and also reduce the need for deeper regulatory oversight towards censoring content on their platforms. At this time, the signatories include Zee5, Viacom 18, Disney Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, MX Player, Jio Cinema, Eros Now, Alt Balaji, Arre, HoiChoi, Hungama, Shemaroo, Discovery Plus, Flickstree. The Universal Self-Regulation Code for OCCPs has been unveiled by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
The code will include elements such as content descriptions, age labels that accompany movies and TV shows as well as a way to identify and report any violations. “To give consumers more choice and control, the Universal Self-Regulation Code includes a framework for age classification and content descriptions for titles as well as access control tools. The Code also introduces a clear, transparent and structured grievance redressal and escalation mechanism for reporting non-compliance with the prescribed guidelines,” say the new guidelines adopted by video streaming platforms. This code is retrospectively applicable from August 15.
Till now, the government of India has not actively censored content on streaming platforms and has allowed services to self-regulate with age labels and content descriptions. Yet, this joint effort is also unprecedented in many ways, because globally, there really isn’t a trend for video streaming platforms to work together for content regulation. That being said, video streaming platforms have been rolling out better profile management and parental controls on their apps. Earlier this year, Netflix updated the control options to allow parents to filter out content based on age ratings for each country and also PIN-protect individual viewing profiles. Amazon Prime Video has also rolled out the profiles feature across its apps on all platforms for better management of content for children in particular.