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  • Photo from: facebook.com/ONBTC
  • Photo from: facebook.com/ONBTC

Online content providers will have to register with regulator

national June 08, 2017 01:00

By THE NATION

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THE National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has taken its first step in regulating over-the-top (OTT) content on social media platforms by requiring popular content providers to register with the agency.



Due to the fast-growing popularity of social media sites in Thailand, the requirement is expected to be enforced within the next two months as the NBC works on details of its plan. NBC chairman Colonel Natee Sukonrat said most administrators of the 100 most popular Facebook fanpages in Thailand had agreed to work with the agency to ensure that inappropriate content and advertisements of products which are illegal do not appear on social media platforms.

At present, Facebook is the country’s most popular social media site with more than 40 million users nationwide, followed by Line, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms. Also, the number of smartphone users has increased rapidly over the past few years, allowing instant access to OTT content, which includes films, TV, entertainment, personalities and interviews, among other items. In addition, digital TV broadcasters as well as news organisations, also use social media platforms to attract online audiences.

At a meeting yesterday with the NBC, many OTT content providers urged the regulatory body to treat all content providers equally while avoiding enforcement of redundant regulations. 

According to Natee, NBC will ensure that OTT regulations will allow speedy solutions to any issues which may arise, while content providers said the agency should not increase the burden of fanpage administrators, while they are ready to cooperate in terms of removing inappropriate contents and illegal product advertisements.

The NBC was urged to introduce measures and offer incentives to promote the production of creative content on OTT platforms for social benefits. According to Natee, any additional regulations will be minimal since the agency’s policy is to minimise the impact on content providers.

The NBC chairman also said major platform owners, such as Facebook and YouTube, also have a responsibility to work with the NBC to ensure that unsuitable content and illegal advertisements are not on their sites.

Popular social media platforms have become a new tool for doing business online and a source of advertising revenue for platform owners who usually have revenue-sharing agreements with providers.

In general, there are three major types of OTT content: mass content such as films and TV programmes, niche content such as sports, food programmes and cartoons and user-generated content.

Most OTT content is free, while many others charge subscription fees and some content is a mix of free and paid.

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