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Tobacco Imagery in Movies and Web Series Streaming in India and Their Compliance With the Recent Anti-Tobacco Rules for Over-the-Top (OTT) Platforms

Internet access, smartphones and televisions have significantly boosted over-the-top (OTT) movies and web series viewing in India, especially among youth. Despite restrictions, OTT platforms continue to promote tobacco products. India has recently enforced the revised OTT Rules 2023 effective September 1, 2023, to counter tobacco promotion in OTT shows. This study explored compliance with the OTT Rules 2023 in popular movies and web series on select OTT platforms in India.

Analysis of 29 movies and 31 web series from seven popular OTT platforms found that portrayal of tobacco imagery in OTT shows is prevalent and not compliant with the OTT Rules 2023. Monitoring and stricter enforcement of the OTT Rules should be given priority to protect viewers from tobacco promotion in OTT shows.

Published March 7, 2024

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