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The government has finally regulated OTT, IPTV platforms, and YouTube channels, including all the ‘Internet TVs’ in Nepal. This became possible after the government made the 11th amendment to the National Broadcasting Rules, 052. That means from now on, all the commercial video content that airs on the internet will come within its jurisdictions. That means the government has made it mandatory that online content creators register their company and obtain a license to deliver their content.
It is the first time the government has started regulating contents that comprise its umbrella term “Online Television”. Prior to this OTTs, VoD, YouTube Channels were all running without being accountable to the government. But the Ministry had made its plans clear. Previously, it stated that any motion picture or video content must pass through the Film Censor Board before reaching the audience.
The Ministry had stated that any motion picture or video content must pass through the Fim Censor Board before reaching its audience. To enforce this, the MoICT was referring to the decades-old Motion Picture (Production, Exhibition, and Distribution) Act, 2026. This directly hinted at regulating OTT & IPTV platforms and other video services that we get on the internet.
MoICT had also warned that any guilty individual or party will face fines up to Rs.5,000 and their license could be revoked by the CDO (Chief District Officer). Adding to it, the authority could also confiscate the tools and equipment used in film making, exhibiting, and distributing.
Now, the government has published its new amendments to the National Broadcasting Rules, it is formal and will go into implementation shortly.
The amendment defines internet content aired over the internet including YouTube, OTT, and other internet content as online television. Likewise, Sub-rule 2 of Rule 2 defines OTT as a service broadcast over the internet without cable or satellite. Similarly, Video on Demand (VoD) is defined as a service after television within its own network by a licensed company.
The amendment defines regularly aired audio-visual content online by individuals or a group as online TV (internet TV). And they will need to adhere to the government’s terms and conditions for their content broadcast.
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The new amendment dedicates a large share of criteria for online content, especially OTT. Over the Top content, delivery is on the rise in Nepal and the government has finally brought it within its jurisdiction. The following are key highlights from the latest amendment to the National Broadcasting Rules.
For OTT, it says if a company adds a member or a customer in Nepal, it has to establish a cache server in Nepal. Likewise, the company must store its financial transactions with customers on its servers. The government says that a company not complying with its criteria won’t obtain a license.
Besides, the government has also mandated content ratings as per the customers’ age group. For content suitable for all age groups, the content gets a ‘U’ rating. For contents suitable to 10 – 18 years old, an ‘R’ rating is issued. The contents viewable for 18+ shall get an ‘A’ rating.
|10 – 18||R|
The Government of Nepal has set the license registration charge for different broadcasting mediums. From now on, an OTT platform will get its license for 1 crore. Similarly, a VoD service can get its license for 2 lakh. Besides, online Television channels (that also accommodate YouTube channels) will get their license for 5 lakh. YouTube channels, much talked about after this ruling, fit into online TV. So, it seems starting a YouTube channel will require a license and Rs.5 lakh fees for it.
|Broadcasting platforms||License charges (NPR)|
|Online Television (Internet TV)||5 lakh|
The new ruling now regulates OTT, YouTube channels, and another content broadcast online. Now, these providers will have to register their platforms and comply with the government’s terms and conditions. This also makes them subject to a 2 percent contribution out of their profit to the state.
The government had long talked of regulating online content but has now formalized it. The amendments have already been published on the Rajpatra. That means the new ruling will implement immediately.
How do you see the government regulating OTT, IPTV, and YouTube channels in Nepal? Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments below.
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