Advertising industry regulator ASCI to set up task force for monitoring OTT ads

New Delhi: Advertising industry regulator ASCI is setting up a task force to monitor and regulate advertising on over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms, at a time when OTT platforms such as Amazon and Netflix are exploring advertising revenue options to move beyond subscription-only models, while others such as Zee5, Disney+Hotstar, Sony Liv and Voot, which are already large platforms for advertising, continue to increase their user bases.

“Advertising on OTT was not part of ASCI guidelines earlier; we are now working with the ministry of information & broadcasting to form guidelines and processes, which will monitor advertising on these platforms,” ASCI chairman Subhash Kamath said.

While Amazon is planning advertising-funded video-on-demand for Prime Video, OTT giants Amazon and Netflix are both exploring advertising revenue options in India to move beyond subscription-only models and have been in talks with large advertisers for the same, two people directly aware of the developments said.

“We are in constant conversation with various government entities on how we can create and evolve guidelines in the new media landscape; these will be a combination of existing and new guidelines,” Kamath said.

He said ASCI is working closely in partnership with the government entities including the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), ministries of consumer affairs, I&B and Ayush, and food safety and standards regulator FSSAI, to fine tune existing guidelines and formulate new ones.

Another exercise the regulatory body will roll out in the year is setting up a taskforce to scrutinise brand promotions weaved in content programming. The pandemic months, for example, have seen dozens of brands being weaved in entertainment-based content on television or OTT platforms claiming ‘health or immunity benefits’ .

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