November 2019



The I&B ministry secretary Amit Khare said there is a need to rethink regulating Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms because some sections of the society are voicing concerns on its content. However, Khare also clarified that the ministry currently does not have any plan to impose any regulation.

Speaking at a seminar on film certification and regulation of online content, held in Mumbai on 10 October, he pointed out that in all commonwealth countries, there are bodies to regulate content in films, newspapers and TV, but no provision for regulating OTT content.

"They [OTT platforms] do fall under the IT Act, but have no governance or self-regulation," the I&B minister Prakash Javadekar said via a video conference at the seminar.


JIO has been providing free service, for its GigaFiber broadband service, since 12th August 2019, as a test.

TRAI rules restrict the free test period to a maximum of 6 months, to prevent predatory practices to win customers. As a result, there is pressure on JIO to commercially roll out its service soon, and stop its free service.

JIO has already declared its pre-paid plans (SCaT October 2019) which seem too high compared to even those offered by group company Hathway.

Sources tell us that the service could go commercial in a month, or be delayed further to integrate it with JIO's new STBs.


TRAI will take at least another month to crystallise its views and recommendations on OTT. The regulator wants to take a "practical approach" and is looking at international practices and regulations around OTTs, particularly on security-related aspects.

Lawful interception & security are expected to be the key focus areas in TRAI's recommendations.

Last year, TRAI had issued its consultation paper - Regulatory Framework for Over The Top Communications Services' - to debate whether OTT players should be brought under the regulatory regime. TRAI had made it clear that the scope of its consultation would be regulatory issues and economic concerns pertaining to those OTT services that are "same or similar" to the services provided by telecom service providers (TSPs).


Netflix added 6.8 million subscribers in the third quarter of this year internationally, compared to 7 million it had forecast. Netflix reported $5.2 billion in revenue in the third quarter, up 31% over the prior year, and operating income doubled to $1 billion.

Netflix said that it will continue to expand its non-English language original offerings because they help the company increase penetration in international markets. "To date, we have globally released 100 seasons of local language, original scripted series from 17 countries and have plans for over 130 more in 2020. We also plan to expand our investment in local language original films and unscripted series," it added.

Netflix will now face stiff competition as Apple and Disney prepare to launch similar services.


Walmart-owned Flipkart has commenced offering its own video content with the launch of "Flipkart Video Originals", two months after it introduced free video streaming service to draw new users from small towns and cities in India.

Flipkart is eyeing the next 200 million Indian consumers expected to come online. The company believes that most consumers are introduced to the internet through online videos. Hence, video content and entertainment could play a big role in getting consumers to come and buy online.

This initiative once again pits Flipkart against Amazon. Amazon India started its Prime video service in December 2016.

Subscription-based Video-on-Demand platforms are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 23.3% to reach ₹ 10,712 crore by 2023.

There are currently 34 OTT platforms in the cluttered Indian market, which includes Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, as well as Indian services such as ZEE5, Voot, Eros Now and ALTBalaji.


Hotstar, Star India's OTT platform is creating its own original films, that will be released for a digital-first audience soon.


According to TRAI, the total number of wired broadband subscribers declined 1.08%.

They fell from 18.52 million in July 2019 to 18.32 million a month later.

As on 31st August 2019, the top 5 Wired Broadband Service providers were BSNL (8.79 million), Bharti Airtel (2.41 million), Atria Convergence Technologies (1.47 million), Hathway Cable & Datacom (0.85 million) and You Broadband (0.75 million).


Out of ZEE5' 8.9 million daily active users, 95% plus are from India. The OTT platform's user base is skewed in favour of the female audience in the 18-28 age bracket. "So I think the split last when I saw was about 57% skewed to females and 43% to males which is very similar to what is on television," ZEEL MD and CEO Punit Goenka told analysts during the Q2 earnings conference call.

After rolling out ZEE5 in APAC and the MENA region, the next target is to launch in the UK and Europe and then finally the US.


BSNL has partnered with OTT platform YuppTV, to provide Yupp TV content to BSNL's 120 million mobile broadband & fixed line users. YuppTV offers an extensive and exclusive content library with Live TV channels and catch-up, movies, and exclusive originals.

All the major telecom players including Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea provide OTT services, to increase bandwidth consumption and ARPUs. Currently, Indian OTT players receive their largest subscription revenue from telco deals.


The government has told the Supreme Court that it will finalise rules to regulate fake news, hate speech on social media, by mid-January 2020. Elaborating the time consuming process, the government explained that the guidelines have to be vetted by IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, then vetted by the law ministry, after which it goes back to the IT ministry for approval.

The government favours making intermediaries like Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube etc "more liable towards the content that is published, transmitted etc, on their platform."

In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the Ministry Of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) said that though "technology has led to economic growth and societal development, on the other hand, there has been an exponential rise in hate speech, fake news, public order, anti-national activities, defamatory postings, and other unlawful activities using internet/social media platforms."

The affidavit said that the 2011 rules need to be revised "for effective regulation of intermediaries keeping in view the ever-growing threats to individual rights and nation's integrity, sovereignty, and security."


Chennai: Over the top (OTT) video platforms are finding favor beyond the metros and see growing adoption from audiences in Tier-2 & 3 towns.

A majority (60%) of users of OTT platforms come from non-metros today & they will outpace urban users in 2 years, according to analysis by RedSeer Consulting.

Projections are that MAUs (Monthly Active Users) for the OTT video sector will grow around 80% from 170 million in 2019 to 300 million in 2022 with tier 2/3 and rural consumption reaching 80% share.

Huge Broadband Demand In Non Metro Cities

OTT platforms say they are increasing non-English content with a local flavour for the small-town user, who enjoys affordable smartphones and growing internet penetration. Such content is also 30 to 40% cheaper to produce.

This report is good news for LCOs and VNOs in non-metro cities that there is a huge demand of broadband in these areas. Investments need to be made now, to deliver wired broadband at least 100 Mbps.


Kerala State Electricity Board, the public sector power distribution monopoly, has decided to start its own Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) service - 'K Fone'.

KSEB will provide a limited download free service to "below poverty line" ration cards holders.

Regular paid service will be provided to others.

KSEB plans to start the service in by March 2020, but industry observers are sceptical since KSEB has no fiber of its own, and installing FTTH will be expensive & time consuming. Its employees have no expertise in fiber or data.

To provide fiber internet connections, the corporation will have to first get all its sub-stations connected to a high-speed fiber network. It has already connected all the 220,000 volt substations, while work to connect 110,000 volt and 66,000 volt substations are progressing.

Most of the fiber broadband providers in the state, such as Asianet Satellite Communications and Kerala Vision, use KSEB's electricity poles to support their fiber cables, for which they pay a monthly rental.


78% of Asian TV content viewers are streamers, compared to a global average of 65%, according to a Horowitz Research.

The viewership is being driven by the demand for international content that was generally unavailable or expensive to subscribe.

Netflix is the main provider of Asian content (39%).

The report titled FOCUS Asian: The Media Landscape 2019 further highlights that the average Asian TV content viewer spends 52% of their viewing time with streamed content, while only 39% of content is watched live through traditional TV platforms. Moreover, 1 in 4 Asians stream all their content. n