Vibrant Indian policy-making will ensure non-discrimination: Netflix APAC MD

NEW DELHI: Netflix is not only upbeat on the Indian market, but feels the vibrancy in policy-making process here will ensure non-discriminatory access to the Internet for all.

Pointing out that India is a place where many innovations are being witnessed, Netflix APAC managing director Yu-Chuang Kuek said that regulatory organisations (like TRAI) should take a wholistic view on issues like net neutrality and nuance the policies in such a way so as “not to stifle innovations.”

Speaking as a panellist at a session on `The Future of Entertainment’ at ORF-organised `CyFy 2016: Digital Asia Scripting the New Governance Order’ here on Thursday, Kuek suggested Indian policy-makers should flesh out a policy after looking at all issues.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the broadcast and telecoms regulator, is in the process of coming out with a set of guidelines for OTT services and net neutrality issue after lengthy debates with stakeholders. A section of the entertainment and telecoms industry in India has been lobbying hard to regulate mushrooming OTT services that have been claiming a growing subscriber base despite challenges of inadequate bandwidth and high cost of data.

As to whether challenges of possible over-regulation (by TRAI), slow internet speed and high cost of data could pose a problem for the growth of OTT services like Netflix in India, Kuek emphasised that he’s much “heartened” by the ongoing “vibrant discussion” on net neutrality.

He, along with another panellists, went on to clarify that regulations need to be “principled and technology-based” without “overreaching” as restrictive regulations were not good for the industry as a whole.

Holding forth on Asian and global trends, the Singapore-based Kuek said that “entertainment and video consumption online is irreversible” and it becomes the “first point of contact for Internet adoption.” He added: “There has been an annual growth of 22 per cent in data consumption in Asia.”

According to another panellist, Santa Clara University Associate Professor of Communication Rohit Chopra, the lines between entertainment and news have blurred (in the US) and the second wave of Internet has caused India to “jumpstart” to this trend.

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