CENSORSHIP OF WEBSERIES: PROS AND CONS

The entertainment industry is changing at a rapid rate in the twenty-first century. The introduction of over-the-top technical platforms or video streaming platforms in India has boosted the entertainment industry’s growth.

Nearly 60% of film revenue was earned via theatre screenings at the start of the decade, with the remainder coming from other sources such as CD/DVD release, DTH rights, and other international rights. However, as the demand for video streaming platforms grows, this pattern is rapidly changing.


These services are eliminating the need for new content from theatres, CDs, and DVDs. They broadcast both traditional TV channels and web shows that are only available on these platforms.

According to a recent study, web series are the most popular material on these platforms. On these platforms, over 34% of viewers watch web series. On these platforms, 16 percent of people watch movies and news, 13 percent watch reality TV shows, and ten percent watch live sports events. These platforms are primarily used to watch Hindi material (above 80%).

REASON BEHIND RAPID RISE OF OTT PLATFORM

These platforms are well-known among viewers for a number of reasons. It is primarily used for recreational purposes. People spend their free time on these platforms watching their favorite web series, news, sports, and other content. It has a lot of motion. The shows can be viewed while travelling, during lunch, or during downtime, and they can be accessible anywhere and at any time. These platforms make their services available on mobile devices that are easy to use. Users may now view web series and other online material on their mobile devices at their leisure thanks to the low cost of bandwidth.

The programmes that provide these materials on phones are really simple to utilize. They don’t require the use of a set-top box, a satellite dish, or even a television. All you need is a smartphone and access to the internet. Furthermore, content on these channels is available on demand. An individual can use the OTT application and begin watching whatever show they like. They are not required to wait for specific times during the day when the show will be available to them. These platforms are also budget-friendly. They are free to download and have a relatively cheap monthly subscription charge as compared to traditional set-top boxes or movie theatres.

The content on these platforms can be customized, and the existing content can be seen in any language of one’s choice. They’re also known for their frequent upgrades. Unlike set-top boxes and movie theatres, where new shows and movies are released after extended periods of time, shows on internet platforms are updated often. On-demand content covers a wide range of genres. With a single monthly cost, people may view horror, comedy, drama, classics, romance, epics, and a variety of other genres on one platform. All of these elements have combined to fuel the growth of these internet platforms in India.

NO REGULATION OVER WEBSERIES CONTENT

Traditional satellite channels provide broadcasters the freedom to air whatever programming they want. The government is in charge of evaluating whether or not a certain piece of content is appropriate for public consumption. Because of the rise of online streaming, the government’s regulatory role has shrunk. Television providers are regulated by rules and regulations, but there are no checks and balances in place for the newly developing internet streaming companies. The tailored subscription-based content available on these platforms also decreases the amount of surveillance that can be implemented. These self-regulatory OTT services that stream a variety of web series are self-regulatory. They’ve signed their own censorship code, which forbids them from presenting certain types of content and established a grievance resolution system for consumer complaints. However, this code has not been signed by all platforms. As a result, many of these web shows are still unregulated, and their content isn’t vetted before being broadcast. Though the government has stated that online content will be regulated, the guidelines are still unclear.

PROS OF CENSORSHIP AND REGULATION

Will regulation of digital media lead to an era of government censorship? |  The Hindu In Focus podcast - The Hindu
  • The web series and related content distributed via digital media were successful in reaching a larger audience. However, explicit and violent content reaches our youngsters, having negative consequences for their attitudes and lives. Censoring and regulating internet web series content has a number of benefits.
  • It safeguards people’s right to free speech and expression because watching a web series is also considered expression and speech. Censorship and control can protect people, especially children, from violent and sexually manipulative content that could expose them to pornographic materials and other sorts of discrimination. As a result, the freedom of one community is balanced against the freedom of the other.
  • Censoring and controlling this type of content might help people avoid becoming victims of abuse or violence, as well as perpetrators. Children can be affected, which can lead to undesirable changes in their behavior for others.
  • It restricts some religious and societal groups from seeing these web series because of the offensive material. The type of content that is eye-catching and involves controversy is frequently presented on web series. This is disseminated in order to attract as many subscribers and views as possible. Regulating this type of stuff, which is both religiously and socially inappropriate, is one way to keep the culture in check.
  • It would also help to avoid violent crimes and the spread of abusive culture in Indian society. Many online shows thrive on violent and uncensored criminal scenes, which have a particularly negative impact on young people, who become involved in these types of activities at a young age.
  • Censorship and certification will increase the quality of content broadcast on various internet platforms in the form of web series. In contrast to the current western impact on these platforms, more relevant content for Indian society can be created.
  • In addition, regulation will limit the unfair advantages that OTT platforms showing web series have over traditional television. As a result, on these platforms, it will provide fairness and healthy competition.