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Reporter’s Diary: Double dhamaka

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Reporter’s Diary: Double dhamaka

In the sensation-loving, hype-driven and media-led times that we live in, it struck me suddenly that two recent headlines are indeed going to change the lives of the Indian consumer/ viewer quite significantly.

One was the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issuing new regulations to cut down the ad slots on TV channels to not more than 12 minutes in an hour. They even went to the extent of specifying that the ads should be only during the breaks in the sporting action; and that the audio level of the ads should not exceed the audio level of the programmes being broadcast. Haven’t we as viewers silently wished for fewer ad breaks? Many of us can recall how we would switch channels when the onslaught of ads came on. Very often while switching we moved away from the programmes the we were watching, very often we even forgot what it was that we were actually watching… so much for TRPs!

On the other hand, there were questions that popped up in my mind. Will this mean that lesser number of ads would be made now? Would advertisers want to spend more on production, if the commercial time is reduced? With commercial time reduced, will cost per spot booking rate go up? What will this do to ad spends? Will this make viewership ratings shoot up?

Now, it brings me to the second ‘breaking news’. I start this with a question: What is it that always goes up and is unlikely to come down? The answer is no longer ‘age’, it’s ‘petrol’.

The entire nation got a bolt from the blue with the steep hike of Rs 7.50 in petrol prices. People are stumped and furious. The hike is going to hit the middle-class the most and send the aam admi’s monthly budget in a tizzy. When I saw the serpentine queues in front of petrol pumps as I was returning home from work, I secretly heaved a sigh of relief that I was not part of that long, meandering line. Today, we read of protests being staged all over the country, but will it lead to something concrete? And, more so, will this lead to a slump in car sales?

Like one of my friends suggested, let’s all move to Goa, where petrol sells a good Rs 11 less than in the Capital, which one can enjoy with the good times thrown in.

But in all fairness, all we can do is wait and watch, and see how the drama unfolds…

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