The Vietnamese Government released a new decree on Monday that requires Netflix, Apple TV, and other international video-on-demand platforms local license to operate in the country.
According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, starting January 2023, foreign video-on-demand platforms will need to fill in the same form as their local counterparts in order to continue their operations in all parts of Vietnam.
However, the decree also eases the rule on categorizing and editing of the videos on each platform. When implemented, the platforms will be allowed to categorize and edit their own content. That is contrary to the present guidelines that state only licensed news agencies can edit the content before it goes live on the platforms.
Vietnam is a tech-savvy nation. In fact, the country is among the top 10 countries with the highest number of smartphones, with 63.1 million smartphones in use. And most users, according to the consumer data from GWI compiled in Q3 2021, specifically adults aged between 16 and 64 (60%), access the web to watch videos, TV shows, and movies.
However, piracy is a major issue in the country — the third highest number of illegal streamers in Southeast Asia. One of the probably and obvious reasons is how loose the laws are when it comes to website regulations.
As of August 2021, there are over 400 Vietnamese websites that publicly screen movies, 60-70% of these websites do not have copyrights, according to the Vietnam Film Department.
When the American streaming service Netflix came to Vietnam in 2016, it took them three years to launch a Vietnamese-language interface. The Q4 Statista survey revealed that Netflix was the only foreign player among major paid over-the-top (OTT) services in Vietnam. It ranked second most popular streaming platform, with 21% of surveyed internet users saying they go to the site for foreign films and TV shows.
Just in August this year, the Vietnamese government released a decree requiring foreign technology firms to set up local offices and store their users’ data within Vietnamese territory, taking effect this month. That move was intended to strengthen the regulations in cybersecurity.
This new decree is expected to attract a positive effect on homegrown video-on-demand platforms as well as regulate the content providers that enter the country.