Pakistan to Regulate Web TV and OTT Services

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has released a consultation paper on the regulation of  Web TV and Over the Top TV (OTT) content services.

Defining OTT services as those delivered by the public Internet and charging a subscription and Web TV as the sreaming of linear content, the Authority says “Both the services are getting popular day by day due to advancement in technology and the preferred use of small screen such as mobile device or laptop and tablets. These services have posed a real challenge to the legacy services such as satellite TV, Direct to Home & cable TV services since in majority of the countries the services are not subject to any regulation, hence no licenses are required, the service providers do not pay any regulatory fee & taxes as against the regulatory fee and taxes which licensed TV broadcasters and other operators are subjected to.

“There are other regulatory issues also which necessitate it to regulate & hence license the Web TV & OTT services. For example, all PEMRA licensed broadcasters are subject to compliance with code of conduct-2015 which require the operators to have in-house delaying mechanism and editorial control to filter out content which is not in compliance with the code of conduct etc.

“However, the web TV and OTT players are not subject to any code of conduct & other PEMRA laws. Moreover, as a regulator, it is the responsibility of PEMRA to provide a level playing field to all. Since OTT & Web TV operators are competing for the same advertisement or subscription revenue as the licensed operators, therefore, it is imperative that the services be regulated at par with other services.”

The deadline for comments is January 31, 2020.

The consultation paper is available via http://www.pemra.gov.pk/cp/


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