Technology

Casbaa: Regulations are "Over the Top"

MUMBAI: With markets, providers and consumers racing to deliver multichannel video anywhere, anytime and on any device, regulatory frameworks are not keeping up.


A new Casbaa study, A Tilted Playing Field: Asia-Pacific Pay-TV and OTT, provides a comprehensive review of the gulf between pay-TV guidelines and current over-the-top (OTT) television regulations.


The findings show governments imposing heavy burdens on traditional multichannel TV content delivery systems (cable TV, DTH, "walled garden" IPTV, etc.) which must compete with largely unregulated internet-based TV services including "catch-up" TV, live streaming, "TV Everywhere" offerings, video-on-demand streaming and user-generated uploads.


Arguably, however, the most dangerous challenge comes from providers of illegal, unauthorised offshore OTT services.


Casbaa chief policy officer John Medeiros said, "The pirate video transmission business is the most international, least law-abiding, and lowest taxpaying of any segment of the global media business.


"The pirate model is now dominating the commercial conversation. Steps must be taken to block growth of the illegitimate OTT sector – to prevent offshore pirate video operators from continuing to grow business models based on misuse and theft of the legitimate industries‘ content."


The report draws attention to the difficult task facing traditional pay-TV operators in the face of competitive challengers – legal as well as pirate – that don‘t face the same burdens from government regulation. Across the 14 markets including India covered by the CASBAA study, most Asian jurisdictions‘ OTT services remain subject only to relatively loose regulations applied to internet services.


Governments which allow this "tilted playing field and unhealthy competitive environment to persist will see their own creative industries damaged, local broadcasters weakened, and investment in networks and content impaired," added Marcel Fenez, Chairman of CASBAA.


There will be conversation on online piracy at the CASBAA Convention in Hong Kong on 31 October. In the panel ‘After Megaupload – Online Piracy in Asia and Beyond‘ content owners and pay-TV platforms compare notes about the problem, what it‘s doing to their respective businesses, and what might be done about it.

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