Freedom of expression is a fundamental right but it seems Indians are increasingly getting uncomfortable with content shown on online streaming platforms. As the government considers regulating digital platforms, market research and data analytics firm YouGov's study shows that majority of people in India, almost 57 per cent of them think censorship is required for online streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, and so on.
Only 27 per cent think censorship is not required while 16 per cent are unsure. Naturally, older age cohorts are more likely to affirm to content regulation. Amongst all the age groups, GenX are most likely to say censorship is needed while GenZ are least likely (66 per cent vs 35 per cent). Data was collected online by YouGov Omnibus from 1005 online adult respondents in India.
Over 90 per cent said content- either on TV, films or online, should be regulated by the government, either always (40 per cent) or sometime (51 per cent). Men are more likely than women to say they want content regulated always (45 per cent vs 34 per cent) while women are more likely to want censorship sometime (56 per cent vs 46 per cent).
Most people feel (59 per cent) a lot of offensive content unsuitable for public viewing is being created and should be censored. Almost as many (57 per cent) fear that inappropriate content can have an adverse impact on children. Close to half (47 per cent) find it uncomfortable to watch certain type of content with family and want regulation.
Even though majority (57 per cent) think content censorship in important, many (36 per cent) believe regulation should only be for mass mediums like TV and films but not for online mediums.
When asked about the likely effects of content regulation for online streaming platforms, close to half (47 per cent) said they feel better quality content will be created as well as watched by people due to this change. However, some people feel otherwise and hint at a gloomy outcome- piracy and illegal downloading will increase (32 per cent) and the quality of content will suffer due to this (30 per cent).
When it comes to the possible impact on viewership, people in India are equally divided. 29 per cent think censorship will lead to increase in viewership on online streaming platforms but almost as many (28 per cent) think the opposite- it will decrease tune-ins into these platforms.
People in West India are most likely to feel the negative impact strongly. Compared to the other regions, not only do more people in this region (37 per cent) think this move will lead to a slump in online viewership, just as many (38 per cent) feel the quality of content will suffer as well due to this move.