Following the ambiguity over the new IT Rules, 2021, Disney+ hotstar is removing all live feed of news channels and news content starting July 1. The platform has posted a notice in this regard on the feed of news channels.
SonyLiv was the first OTT platform to drop news channels as the new rules mandate that all content on their platform should be rated. The players say it is impossible for OTT platforms to rate news.
The OTT platforms, owned completely by foreign entities, also refer to an FDI cap of 26% in online news among reasons to do away with news channels. Although the FDI cap was announced in August 2019 and its detailed norms were released in August last year, the ambiguity in the new IT Rules added to the fear among OTT players and forced them to do away with news channels.
The new FDI policy states that all news aggregators such as Dailyhunt fall under the 26% cap.
As OTT players are not clear about whether they will fall under the definition of a news aggregator or an intermediary if they carry news channels, they do not want to be seen as any of them.
The I&B Ministry ignored requests from traditional media players to keep their digital platforms out of new IT Rules, following which the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) moved the Madras High Court against the rule. However, there is still no clarity over the live feed of news channels on OTT platforms.
Voot, which only carries News18’s channels, and Zee5, which is an Indian OTT platform, are continuing with the news channels.