Unregistered OTTs unwelcome: NBTC

Unregistered OTTs unwelcome: NBTC

Over-the-top (OTT) platform providers that fail to register their services within the 30-day deadline set this week by the national broadcasting regulator will have no right to do business in Thailand, says Col Natee Sukolrat, vice-chairman of the agency.

He declined to specify what measures would befall the companies, saying the commission will clarify matters before July 22, when the deadline is reached.

"First, local content provided by OTT operators in Thailand should not be broadcast via any platform that has not registered under Thai law," said Col Natee, who chairs the broadcasting subcommittee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

This week, 35 digital terrestrial television channels and OTT operators met with the regulator but three major OTT platform providers -- YouTube, Facebook and Netflix -- were no-shows.

Col Natee did not explain whether streaming video-on-demand content by registered OTT operators would be removed from those three platform providers if they fail to register.

The 35 companies that agreed to register automatically win the NBTC's approval to keep running their businesses and do not have to pay any additional fees or seek more licenses.

"Facebook, YouTube and Netflix must meet the July 22 deadline, otherwise they are challenging the Thai legal system," Col Natee said.

He insisted the NBTC would not shut down the services offered by the OTT platform providers as this would inconvenience the public and trample on people's rights.

The NBTC board in April resolved that video-on-demand from OTT operators falls into the category of broadcast business.

OTT businesses in Thailand can be divided into four categories: independent OTT operators; Pay TV operators who broadcast using an OTT platform; telecom operators who provide OTT services; digital TV channels that broadcast their programmes using OTT platforms.

Independent OTT operators include domestic operators such as Hollywood HDTV, Doonee, PrimeTime and foreign OTT operators such as YouTube, Facebook, Line TV and Netflix.

Pay TV operators that broadcast via the OTT platform include PSI and TrueVisions Anywhere. AIS Play is a telecom operator that broadcasts using an OTT platform.

Digital TV channels that broadcast their programmes using OTT platforms include Channel 3, Mono, Channel 7, Workpoint and Channel 8.

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