On November 10, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting released a draft of the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023. This bill is set to replace the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 which has been in place for the past three decades. With the new bill, over-the-top (OTT) broadcasting services (like Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix, JioCinema, etc.) will also be brought under regulation. They will be required to ensure that their content is certified by a content evaluation committee, and will have to comply with a multi-layered regulatory system. Notably, while other kinds of broadcasting services are required to obtain a registration, OTT services have not been asked to comply with the same requirements. Instead, they are required to provide an intimation to the government that they are providing OTT broadcasting services if they meet a certain threshold of subscribers/ viewers in India. This needs to be done within one month of the bill being notified or within a month of the service reaching the prescribed number of subscribers/viewers. In the interest of preventing genuine hardship for OTT providers, the government can relax any of the regulations prescribed under this bill for OTT broadcasting services that do not meet the threshold of subscribers/viewers. In this post, we bring to you a comprehensive summary of the bill with a focus on how it impacts OTT broadcasting services. The obligations that specifically apply to OTT services have been marked as such. However, the rest of the obligations mentioned throughout the course of…
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