The IAMAI Code of Best Practices, signed by Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji and Eros Now, will guide OTT companies to conduct themselves in a responsible and transparent manner.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) released its OTT self-regulation document called Code of Best Practices for online curated content providers, and eight OTT platforms including Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji and Eros Now have signed the code of self-regulatory best practices. However, as we reported yesterday, Amazon Prime is not a part of this voluntary self-regulation.
This code has been in the works for over a year and establishes guidelines for OTT players to conduct themselves in a responsible and transparent manner, while protecting consumer interests.
The signatories agree to not deliberately and maliciously allow the following:
- Content deliberately and maliciously disrespecting the national emblem or national flag;
- Content representing a child engaged in real or simulated sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes1;
- Content deliberately and maliciously intending to outrage religious sentiments of any class, section or community;
- Content deliberately and maliciously promoting or encouraging terrorism and other forms of violence against the State (of India) or its institutions; and
- Content that has been banned for exhibition or distribution by online video service under applicable laws or by any court with competent jurisdiction.
Age-Inappropriate or sensitive content
These eight OTT companies will also categorise and classify content into separate and distinct categories such as General/Universal Viewing; Parental Guidance; Content only meant for age-appropriate audiences. The document adds that age-appropriate audience needs to be further sub-categorised into different age groups.
It also states that the signatories will display a content descriptor or guidance message that indicates and informs the viewer about the nature of the content, particularly around age-inappropriate content for minors.
Complaints and redressal
The OTT players will internally appoint a person or team or department, as part of their operational systems, as a point of contact to receive and address any consumer related concerns and complaints in relation to the content of the respective providers.
There is no timeline for when the players need to enforce the aforementioned codes. The document reads that it is a "forward-looking from the date of its signing by an OCC Provider i.e., the date mentioned at the end of this document. Nothing in this Code should be seen as contravening any past representation made by any signatory to this Code."
With OTT players and usage booming in India, it would be interesting to see how these codes affect the market.