- Chairman of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan, Khalid Arain, reports that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) plans to take action against OTT platforms like Netflix after Eid ul Azha.
- Cable operators have expressed concerns about the freedom OTT platforms enjoy compared to the broadcasting restrictions they face.
- Netflix and other streaming services have disrupted the traditional television industry in the UK, leading to challenges for cable providers in retaining subscribers and negotiating content rights.
According to Khalid Arain, the Chairman of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan, there are reports that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) is planning to take strict action against over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, soon after the conclusion of the Eid ul Azha holiday.
Arain disclosed that a constructive dialogue had taken place between cable operators and senior Pemra officials, during which the concerns of the cable operators were effectively communicated.
He expressed the following view:
We, as cable operators, face limitations and are bound by broadcasting restrictions for various channels. However, OTT platforms enjoy complete freedom in showcasing popular channels.
In his statement, he referred to the OTT platform, which facilitates the streaming of content over the Internet.
Arain further emphasized the cable operators’ request for regulatory measures pertaining to those operators who offer both internet and cable services.
He announced that the regulatory authority had responded positively to the cable operators’ demands. Pemra will establish a committee to address cable operators’ licensing issues and commence a crackdown on OTT platforms after Eidul Azha concludes.
Arain advocated for a tax exemption in the cable sector, drawing a comparison to the solar power industry and suggesting that taxes on cable operators should be alleviated. However, he did not provide a specific explanation or rationale for this appeal.
Furthermore, he highlighted an inequality where the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) collects Local Loop license fees from cable operators in US dollars, while subscribers make payments to cable operators in the local currency.
Arain deemed this situation unfair, attributing it to the prevailing rupee-dollar exchange rate.
Is Netflix Bad for Business?
In the United Kingdom, Netflix and other streaming services have had a significant impact on cable providers. While it is subjective to say whether Netflix is “bad” for cable providers, it has certainly disrupted the traditional television industry.
Netflix offers a wide range of on-demand content that can be streamed directly over the internet. This has attracted many viewers who prefer the convenience of choosing what to watch and when to watch it, without being tied to a cable subscription. As a result, some individuals have opted to cancel or reduce their cable packages in favour of streaming services like Netflix.
This shift in consumer behaviour has had implications for cable providers. They have faced challenges in retaining subscribers and maintaining their market share. To compete with streaming services, cable providers have had to adapt their business models by offering their own on-demand platforms or partnering with streaming services to offer bundled packages.
Additionally, the rise of streaming services has led to increased competition for content rights. Netflix and other streaming platforms have invested heavily in creating original content, which has further fragmented the market. Cable providers have had to negotiate with these streaming services to secure the rights to popular shows and movies, often at higher costs.
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