Online video streaming has become more mainstream in the past year in Southeast Asia. This is thanks to the mushrooming of companies such as the Malaysia-based, homegrown, iflix and also international players such as Netflix. With the increase of streaming platforms locally and also in the region, content made for the Americas have unsurprisingly become even more prolific. More and more shows are making their way to our shores in a shorter time.
That said, the many cultural and ethnic sensitivities of the region are not reflected in the content; certain actions or depictions in western media may be considered offensive or disrespectful in Asian societies. There is no better proof than the recent uproar surrounding ABC’s (American Broadcast Company’s) hit show “Quantico”. The Disney owned company inadvertently portrayed an act of terrorism and attributed it to a Hindu terrorist group. This controversy comes after Quantico’s Show-runners promised that the show would not portray any Islamist terrorist activities.
Hot off the heels of this controversy, the region’s leading online Video on demand services: Netflix, iflix, dimsum, Fox+, ASTRO, TVB and The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia) have come together, independent of any regulatory bodies, creating what can only be considered a code of conduct for the ASEAN region. This code of conduct was first discussed in 2007 at the ASEAN Telecom Regulators Council dialogue which was held in Bangkok in 2017.
“We share a mutual objective of putting consumer well-being at the heart of our services. This Code demonstrates our commitment to making sure that the consumer is able to make content viewing choices that are right for them and their families.”
The Industry Content Code sets out principles to ensure that content offered on these participating platforms is authentic, free from hate speech, hate crimes, pornography, and other forms of inappropriate content. They also pledge their best efforts to provide consumer control features or other measures to ensure that content delivered is age-appropriate for relevant family members of the users in ASEAN.
No word just yet on how this will affect the current content on the respective Streaming Video On Demand services.
Also published on Medium.