Active Stocks
Fri Sep 29 2023 15:59:14
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 129 1.78%
  1. NTPC share price
  2. 245.65 3.3%
  1. Power Grid Corporation Of India share price
  2. 199.85 -0.45%
  1. State Bank Of India share price
  2. 598.7 1.48%
  1. Wipro share price
  2. 406.25 0.11%
Business News/ Industry / Media/  OTT players, lobby groups to address anti-tobacco rules

OTT players, lobby groups to address anti-tobacco rules

A few OTT services have reached out to the IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India), the IBDF (Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation) and the Producers Guild of India to make representations to the government.


New Delhi

Reeling under pressure from the government to include anti-tobacco disclaimers across their content, the video streaming platforms are working with industry lobby groups to find amicable solutions to navigate the challenging guidelines.

A few OTT services have reached out to the IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India), the IBDF (Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation) and the Producers Guild of India to make representations to the government.

The idea, one senior executive said, is to request that future titles may include such warnings instead of going back to content already made, a move that is similar to what feature films have done since 2012.

Further, the platforms to have considered challenging the rules were Netflix and Jio Cinema, while others favour a more practical solution.

“All streaming services are cognizant of how sensitive the issue is, we’re not opposed to the idea of inserting disclaimers but there has to be a practical approach to all of this. The plan is to call upon industry associations to hold consultations with all stakeholders in a way that that move doesn’t backfire on anyone," said the executive at a streaming platform on condition of anonymity.

The person said while OTT platforms work closely with the ministry of information and broadcasting, even the latter hadn’t been consulted on the latest notification.

Sources close to IAMAI confirmed that members are working to come up with a solution and will decide if representations have to be made.

It would be feasible to have future titles display such warnings even though the jury is still out on how much of an ad break it would mean for subscription-based services. However, many feel it is totally impossible to go back and insert these disclaimers in content already streaming.

“It would be an arduous task to retrospectively insert such disclaimers. This is an era where we are already fighting for consumer attention and eyeballs. Anything that is found non-engaging could immediately lead the viewer to switch to something else," said a senior content producer on condition of anonymity.

While local producers may still comply with the rules, it would be difficult to have international programming and studios toe the line, the person pointed out.

“The issue remains that this would be an ad break for the content that is being screened. Plus, thousands of hours of programming already streaming will have to be redone," said Kaushik Moitra, partner, Bharucha & Partners.

Last week, the health ministry issued new rules requiring online content publishers to display anti-tobacco health spots, lasting at least thirty seconds, at the beginning and middle of their programs. They must also feature an anti-tobacco health warning prominently on screen during the tobacco product’s display. In addition, an audio-visual disclaimer about the harmful effects of tobacco use, lasting at least twenty seconds, must be included at the program’s start and midpoint.

In the past, the release of filmmaker Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine was cancelled in India after he refused to take on board the Indian government’s rule on the mandatory anti-smoking disclaimer. Allen is said to have objected to the requirement that the anti-tobacco message be inserted in scenes that showed characters smoking.

"Exciting news! Mint is now on WhatsApp Channels 🚀 Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest financial insights!" Click here!

Lata Jha
Lata Jha covers media and entertainment for Mint. She focuses on the film, television, video and audio streaming businesses. She is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. She can be found at the movies, when not writing about them.
Catch all the Industry News, Banking News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less
Updated: 08 Jun 2023, 11:20 PM IST
Next Story
Recommended For You
Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App