Industry stakeholders believe that the media and entertainment sector should be regulated with a light approach. They acknowledged that the sector has long served as a means of soft power for India and has also very recently been affected by the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madhavan, Chairman of the ICN National Committee on Media and Entertainment, and National Director and Chairman, Walt Disney Company India and Star India, speaking at the 10e edition of the Big Picture Summit, said that it is essential to be able to flourish freely with the power to self-regulate. “Self-regulatory bodies for TV and digital work extremely well in India and have proven that they can deal effectively with complaints and concerns without any interference from policy makers and regulators,” he said. “We hope to have a more proactive and positive approach from the regulator. There must be a light approach, so as not to hold back the industry. “
PD Vaghela, chairman of TRAI, said broadcasters had done the government a great service by entertaining people while they stayed at home during the pandemic. He revealed that around 46% of the population had started watching TV every seven days a week during the height of the lockdown, but there was still room for deeper penetration of TV. “Trai is committed to ensuring the ease of doing business for the telecommunications and broadcasting industry.
Trai is also working to create time-bound solutions and reforms in policies and hopes Indian consumers will be able to access global offerings such as pay-per-view and pay per schedule in time. Vaghela said the regulator’s goal is to create a level playing field for all stakeholders and to ensure a balance between broadcasters and distribution operators. “The transparency of tariffs and service offerings for consumers remains the central objective of Trai, but also, unfortunately, slightly controversial. The fact that our broadcast prices are among the lowest in the world shows that Trai’s interventions have helped consumers.
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Madhavan raised the need for a single national policy for the media and entertainment industry. He said it should be consistent, reflect industry aspirations, and provide greater clarity for industry and regulators. “With contributions from industry, this new national policy could guide regulators for years to come and ensure that consumers, industry and stakeholders find certainty and clarity to an equal extent.”
The executive recognized that digital streaming has changed the pattern of global consumption and that Indian content can have a serious impact globally, provided there is the right support from policymakers and the regulator.