UAE: Netflix asked to remove offensive content

Authorities in the UAE have issued a statement regarding content on Netflix that violates media broadcasting regulations in the country.

The joint statement comes from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and the UAE Media Regulatory Office.

“It has recently been noticed that the Netflix platform has broadcast some visual content that violates media broadcasting regulations in the UAE and contradicts societal values in the country,” the statement says.

It further states that the streaming platform has been directed to remove the content in question, especially that aimed at children.

The Media Regulatory office confirms that it will follow up on what the platform broadcasts in the coming days and assess its commitment to broadcasting controls in the UAE.

It reiterates that it will apply the “necessary procedures” in the event the platform broadcasts any material that does not comply with existing regulations in the country.

A special committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council issued the same directive on Tuesday, according to Arab News.

The move by the GCC’s electronic media committee was highlighted during a meeting of the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media.

The council’s committee took the decision to approach Netflix in light of content that it said “violates Islamic and societal values and principles. As such, the platform was contacted to remove this content, including content directed at children, and to ensure adherence to the laws.”

New advertising-supported subscription

Netflix currently leads subscriptions in the Mena region, with more than 6.8 million subscribers, according to Digital TV Research. Starzplay, an Abu Dhabi-based competitor, ranks second with just under 2 million, followed by Amazon with 1.4 million.

Netflix is looking to charge about $7 to $9 per month for its new advertising-supported subscription plan, Bloomberg news reported late on Friday, according to Reuters.

The company plans to introduce its budget-friendly option in the final three months of the year across at least half a dozen geographies. However, the full rollout may have to wait until early next year, the report said.

It plans to sell around four minutes of commercials per hour for the ad-supported service, showing ads before and during the shows, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The streaming giant declined to comment on the report and its pricing plan.

Rival Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) had in March announced it will offer a cheaper, ad-supported version of its Disney+ streaming service later this year.

Netflix’s goal is to attract subscribers who are ready to watch shows with advertisements, at almost half of its current price plan that costs $15.49 per month.

The plan for ad-supported subscription comes after it reported a loss of about 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter this year against the backdrop of rising inflation squeezing consumer spending.

“Those who have followed Netflix know that I’ve been against the complexity of advertising, and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription. But as much as I’m a fan of that, I’m a bigger fan of consumer choice,” Chief executive Reed Hastings had said in April. read more

In July, the company chose Microsoft as the technology and sales partner for the ad-supported subscription plan.

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