Bharti Airtel has approached the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) with a proposal for a uniform pricing policy for telecom operators. The policy aims to prevent differential pricing for content on telecom operator apps if the same content is available on DTH and Cable TV channels.
Airtel’s proposal is for a one-service-one rate system, which will ensure that telecom companies cannot charge varying rates for content on their apps if the same content is available on DTH and Cable TV channels. The proposal aims to prevent anti-competitive behavior and promote fair competition among all players in the industry.
The proposed uniform pricing policy would provide equal opportunities for all telecom operators to offer content to their customers. By introducing a level playing field, Airtel aims to create a fair environment for all players and ensure that no player has an undue advantage over the others. The policy is expected to encourage healthy competition and promote innovation in the industry, ultimately benefiting the customers.
Airtel’s Perspective on the Regulatory Mechanism
The step came as a result of free IPL streaming by JioCinema. Reliance Jio has acquired the digital rights to Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, which can be viewed for free on JioCinema. However, Disney-Star has the broadcasting rights for the same matches, and they are unable to offer the same content for free due to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) tariff order, which has fixed the channel price at Rs 19.
In order to view IPL matches through cable TV, a consumer needs to pay a minimum of Rs 325 per month for an entry-level bouquet. The pricing disparity has led to Bharti Airtel approaching TRAI for a one-service-one rate system that would prevent differential pricing.
It aims to create a level playing field for all players in the industry and prevent anti-competitive behavior. It would ensure that telecom companies cannot charge varying rates for content on their apps if the same content is available on DTH and Cable TV channels. The uniform pricing policy is expected to promote fair competition and innovation in the industry while benefiting the customers.
Why is Airtel seeking the regulation?
Bharti Airtel is looking for a regulation that would require telecom service providers to adhere to the same pricing as DTH and cable TV providers for the same content. The aim of the proposed regulation is to promote fair competition and innovation in the industry while benefiting the customers. A uniform pricing policy would provide equal opportunities for all telecom operators to offer content to their customers, without giving any undue advantage to a particular player. It would also prevent anti-competitive behavior and promote a fair environment for all players in the industry.
Currently, there is differential tariff regulation for telecom service providers for their apps. Airtel wants this regulation to apply if telecom service providers choose to broadcast content that is also available on DTH and cable TV platforms.
Why differential tariff regulation?
Differential tariff regulation for the telecom sector mandates that a telecom service provider cannot charge different rates for its own subscribers and users of other service providers if an app is available on the web.
The differential tariff regulation also serves to benefit customers by preventing any telecom operator from monopolizing the market and charging higher rates for its content. It ensures that customers have access to the same content at the same rates, regardless of their service provider. Ultimately, the regulation promotes a fair environment for all players in the industry, benefiting both the telecom companies and their customers.
Reliance Jio’s Perspective on the Regulatory Mechanism
Reliance Jio disagrees with Airtel’s proposal to regulate the pricing of telecom operators’ content to align with that of DTH and cable TV providers. The company argues that such a regulation would impede the convergence of different technologies in the future.
Jio officials have cited examples such as the YouTube model, where all kinds of content are available for free. They believe that any such regulation could cause the collapse of the entire YouTube model.
Jio maintains that the convergence of technologies is an essential aspect of the telecom industry and any regulation that hinders it could negatively impact innovation and growth. The company advocates for a flexible and adaptable regulatory framework that encourages fair competition while fostering innovation and growth in the industry.
TRAI is currently engaged in a consultative process aimed at regulating converged digital technologies and services. As part of this process, TRAI plans to release a consultation paper on the regulation of communication-based over-the-top (OTT) service providers, including popular messaging service WhatsApp.
The consultative process aims to address the challenges posed by the convergence of different technologies and services. TRAI is exploring ways to promote fair competition and innovation while ensuring that consumers are protected from anti-competitive practices.
Naaptol Partners with Phando to Launch New OTT Platform
The Indian streaming market has seen a massive boom in recent years, with more and more consumers shifting their focus from traditional cable and satellite TV to over-the-top (OTT) platforms. This trend has resulted in a surge of investments in the Indian OTT industry, with both domestic and international players vying for a share of the market. In such a competitive landscape, Naaptol, a leading online shopping platform in India, has partnered with Phando, a premier provider of OTT solutions, to launch a new OTT platform that could potentially shake up the market.
Introducing Naaptol’s New OTT Platform
Naaptol’s new OTT platform is a welcome addition to the Indian streaming market. The platform promises high-quality content anytime and anywhere, with a focus on quality, convenience, and affordability. With a variety of subscription plans available, users can choose the plan that best suits their needs and budget.
Features of Naaptol’s New OTT Platform
Naaptol’s new OTT platform boasts several features that set it apart from the competition. The platform will feature content from leading Indian and international creators, catering to a wide range of preferences and interests. The content will be available in multiple languages, making it accessible to a diverse audience. Naaptol has also promised to regularly update the platform with fresh content to keep users engaged.
The platform’s user interface is simple and easy to navigate, ensuring a seamless streaming experience. Users can also create multiple profiles within a single account, allowing for personalized recommendations and viewing histories.
The partnership with Phando has enabled Naaptol to incorporate cutting-edge technology solutions into the platform. Phando’s expertise in the OTT space has helped Naaptol offer an engaging and seamless streaming experience to its users. The platform’s advanced technology solutions include features such as adaptive streaming, which automatically adjusts the video quality based on the user’s internet speed.
Partnership with Phando
Phando is a premier OTT solutions provider in India, offering advanced technology services to businesses across the globe. The partnership with Naaptol has enabled Phando to showcase its expertise in the OTT space by providing cutting-edge solutions to help Naaptol launch and operate its own streaming platform.
Deepak Joshi, CEO of Phando, expressed his excitement about the partnership, saying, “We are excited to partner with Naaptol to help launch their new OTT platform. Our advanced technology solutions and expertise in the OTT space will enable Naaptol to offer an engaging and seamless streaming experience to its users.”
Expansion Strategy of Naaptol
The launch of the new OTT platform is part of Naaptol’s strategy to diversify its product portfolio and expand its reach across India. The company aims to leverage its vast customer base and brand equity to establish itself as a leading player in the Indian OTT market.
In conclusion, the partnership between Naaptol and Phando to launch a new OTT platform is an exciting development for the Indian streaming industry. With Naaptol’s vast customer base and Phando’s expertise in the OTT space, the platform has the potential to become a leading player in the Indian market. The focus on quality, convenience, and affordability will make it an attractive option for users looking for a seamless streaming experience. Overall, the launch of the new OTT platform by Naaptol and Phando is an exciting development for the Indian streaming industry, and it has the potential to revolutionize the way users consume entertainment content.
Amazon India acquires MX Player at discounted price
Amazon India has recently acquired the OTT platform MX Player from Times Internet Ltd, signaling a strategic move by Amazon to expand its presence in the Indian digital media space. Although the exact amount of the markdown is unknown, it is estimated to be around $45-50 million, which translates to approximately Rs 350-Rs 400 crore. TIL had purchased MX Player for an estimated sum of Rs 1,000 crore in 2018.
Despite attempts to seek clarification, MX Player CEO Karan Bedi and Times Internet’s Vineet Jain have yet to respond to requests for comment. However, Amazon Prime Video stated earlier this week that they do not comment on speculation or rumors. According to sources familiar with the matter, a deal between Amazon and TIL has been finalized, with final payments expected to be completed by June 30th of this year. Amazon had enlisted the services of a top consulting firm to conduct due diligence on the transaction. MX Player’s CEO Karan Bedi is said to receive approximately one-third of the deal’s value, with the remainder going to other shareholders. Bedi is expected to remain in charge of the platform for another year. It is noteworthy that despite being the most downloaded app in India and the third most downloaded OTT app globally in 2022, MX Player is being sold at a price nearly 25% lower than its acquisition four years ago. This information was revealed in the State of Mobile 2023 report by data.ai.
About MX Player
MX Player was initially launched as a video player on July 18th, 2011, in Korea. In 2019, the platform was relaunched as an OTT platform with a focus on producing original content. When TIL acquired the platform, it was considered a daring move, particularly given that the company’s previous OTT venture, BoxTV.com, was discontinued in 2016 after four years of operation. However, TIL, the digital subsidiary of media giant Times Group, has decided to sell the OTT platform after operating it for four years.
Growth Expectations for Amazon
Following the acquisition, Amazon Prime Video is poised to experience a four-fold increase in consumer acquisition. While Amazon has roughly 28 million users in India, MX Player boasts nearly 78 million users. This transaction has the potential to intensify India’s OTT competition, particularly at a time when the industry is facing growth challenges and with Reliance Group entering the market. Viacom18 has made a significant move by streaming IPL for free on JioCinema, accessible to users on all telecom networks, as it seeks to gain as many users as possible. Meanwhile, Viacom18 has committed Rs 24,000 crore to acquire IPL’s digital media rights for five years.
In a nutshell, Amazon India has reportedly acquired MX Player from Times Internet Ltd. (TIL) for a reduced price after multiple rounds of negotiations. Although the exact markdown amount is unknown, it is estimated to be around $45-50 million. Following the acquisition, Amazon Prime Video is expected to grow four-fold in terms of consumer acquisition, with MX Player’s nearly 78 million users added to Amazon’s existing user base of approximately 28 million in India. The deal has the potential to intensify India’s OTT competition, particularly with the entry of Reliance Group. Viacom18 has also made a significant move in this regard by streaming IPL for free on JioCinema, accessible to users on all telecom networks, as it seeks to gain as many users as possible.
High Court extends Centre’s deadline for reporting on social media and OTT content regulations
In response to the Delhi High Court’s earlier direction, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has been granted additional time to update the court on its progress towards regulating content on social media and over-the-top (OTT) platforms. The court had instructed MEITY to enforce stricter rules for intermediaries, in accordance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, and to enact further legislation as necessary.
Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma issued an order on April 12th, directing Monika Arora, Standing Counsel for the Union of India, to accept notice on behalf of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which are responsible for addressing the matter under consideration. Arora requested more time to prepare a response.
In a case before the high court, urgent attention was being given to the need for establishing rules and guidelines for regulating content on social media and over-the-top (OTT) platforms. The court emphasized the importance of addressing the use of vulgar language on these platforms, which can be accessed by young children. The court scheduled a follow-up hearing for the matter on April 25.
The high court strongly criticized the use of offensive language in the TVF web series ‘College Romance’, stating that the use of vulgar language that objectifies women as sexual objects is degrading and can make women feel victimized. The court expressed concern about the negative impact of such language on women’s dignity and well-being.