The fundamental right of freedom of expression seems to be discomforting Indians with a number of shows on online streaming platforms having violence, nudity and strong language, about 57 per cent of people in India now think censorship is required for over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and Voot.

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.

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. They think piracy and illegal downloading will increase and about 30 per cent think the quality of content will suffer due to this.

When it comes to the possible impact on viewership, people in India are equally divided. Nearly 30 per cent think censorship will lead to an increase in viewership on online streaming platforms but almost as many think the opposite.

The survey is based on responses from over 1,000 adults in India. The Indian government is already considering the regulation of OTT platforms. The Supreme Court earlier this year directed the Centre to regulate the content featured on the OTT media platform.

The research by YouGov showed that in general, an overwhelming majority of Indians support some form of content censorship. Nine in 10 said content – either on TV, films or online, should be regulated by the government, either always or sometime. Men are more likely than women to say they want the content to be regulated always, the findings showed.

(With input from agencies)