Over the past six months, a Mumbai-based producer has invested heavily in proposing for two web shows, which have aired on top video streaming platforms. The script, the episodes, the director and the temporary cast have all been executed and the visual plan signed with the actors is ready for another. Today, both of her proposals seem unacceptable and your stories are in the back burner describing the media. Apart from religion and politics, the media has also suddenly become a taboo subject for India’s over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platforms, following lawsuits against multiple complaints, FIRs and web shows, their directors and platform executives following psychosis. .
The producer, who was left overwhelmed and dry with the projects she was stuck with, said she was not alone in her hardships. It’s a turmoil in Mumbai’s content production industry. “Everyone I know doesn’t know which stories to choose. Streaming platforms are turning new pitches upside down and removing them for fear of offending anyone in the next seasons of existing shows. ”The list could be endless – government, politicians, religious groups, nationalists.
Strictly speaking, the trouble for streaming services has started and now the government is announcing the Information Technology (Intermediate Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 governing India’s OTT platforms. Political thriller Thandav The series, which aired on Amazon Prime Video, denigrated the religious sentiments that led to complaints and FIRs against the producer, director and platform executives. In fact, the Allahabad High Court denied pre-arrest bail to Aparna Purohit, the original head of India in the company, although it was later granted by the Supreme Court. The series director also apologized and had to change scenes after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting intervened.
Apparently, the Thandav The incident shook content studios in Mumbai. Moreover, despite the government’s promise of light-touch regulation, its new guidelines for the OTT sector have not instilled any confidence.
Under the new rules, after two levels of clear self-regulation, there will be an oversight body of government officials headed by a Joint Secretary-level official with the power to issue orders to prevent content in third-level grievance redressal.
No wonder producers are looking for ‘safe’ things to feed India’s sunrise streaming sector. According to KPMG’s September 2020 report, more than 40 video streaming platforms in India, such as ALT Balaji, G5, Disney + Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, have grown exponentially by 2020. OTT advertising revenue will grow at 26% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over 2019 ₹3,400 crores. Subscription revenue also increased by 60% ₹1,900 crore, the report said. By 2020, 22 million viewers in India will be watching subscription-led video-on-demand (VoD) content, which is projected to reach 57 million by 2022.
As the nature of content on OTT platforms is likely to change, it remains to be seen whether the sector will continue to grow in India.
Fortunately large platforms are subscription-led and therefore users can invest as they have extensive international content libraries.
However, the platform executive expressed concern over the new rules surrounding the age classification of all subjects. “Our rules are different from the global platforms that are followed in other markets. In order to comply with Indian law, we have to sit back and reclassify all our global content manually — which seems like an impossible task at the moment,” he said.
Business in this sector is also affected. The producer mentioned above said her cash flows would be affected if her performances did not go to the ground.
Currently, studios are full of work thanks to OTT platforms. If global companies do not make money from their performances here, they may reconsider their investments.
“Art and movies are a mirror to society. At present, the situation does not allow content producers to reflect on what is happening in the country, “said Raj Nayak, a media industry expert.” And that’s a big challenge, “he said.
Others think creative writers and directors can send subtle messages through their content. This is their real test of how to deal with obstacles to freedom of speech. They need to be creative with their content.
Shuchi Bansal Mint Media, Marketing and Advertising Editor. The general post looks at issues related to these three. Or things that are fun.