(CTN News) – Sources familiar with the matter have revealed that Netflix, Viacom18 (owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani), and other streaming companies are planning to collectively lobby the Indian government.
They aim to either delay or revise a broadcast bill that they believe will impose burdensome regulations on the sector.
Recently, India introduced a new draft law to regulate the broadcasting sector, which will also extend its reach to streaming giants.
The proposed law suggests the establishment of individual content evaluation committees comprising members from diverse social groups. These committees will be responsible for reviewing and approving shows before their release.
While all films shown in Indian cinemas undergo review and certification by a government-appointed board, streamed content currently does not.
During a private meeting this week, executives from various streaming companies, including Netflix and Viacom18, which operates the JioCinema platform, discussed a proposal to approach the government regarding the bill’s delay and potential overhaul, according to anonymous sources.
The sources also revealed that the bill is currently open for public consultation until December 10th. One of the sources stated that Netflix and other companies expressed concerns that the content committees would result in excessive pre-screening checks, leading to implementation issues as a large amount of content would need to be reviewed before going online.
Neither Netflix nor Viacom18 nor India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry, which proposed the bill, responded to requests for comment.
During a meeting this week, executives from various streaming services expressed concerns about the potential impact of the new law on the industry’s growth, according to an anonymous source.
India’s streaming market is expected to reach $7 billion by 2027, with popular platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and JioCinema leading the way.
The government has stated that the new law and content committees will promote self-regulation, but some worry about the level of government oversight on these platforms. Additionally, some Indian streaming shows featuring top Bollywood stars have faced criticism for their content.