The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has announced that 133 pay channels (103 non-news and 30 news) out of 263, have violated the 12-minute ad cap rule of the authority between December 28, 2015 and March 27, 2016)
Among the non-news channels B4U Movies (owned by B4U Broadband India Pvt. Ltd) on an average aired maximum of 23.41 minutes of advertisements per hour during peak hours (7pm and 10pm), according to the data uploaded on the official website of TRAI. In the case of news channels, ETV Rajasthan (owned by Panorama Television Pvt. Ltd) topped that list with 24 minutes of advertisements per hour on an average. Most of the English pay news channels like NDTV India, CNN IBN and Times Now have failed to comply with the above rule.
It’s mentioned on the TRAI’s website that the above information is based on the data submitted by the broadcasters. It makes it clear that ‘TRAI bears no responsibility for correctness of same. As per information available with TRAI, the rest of the Pay News and non-news channels are carrying less than 12 minutes of average duration per hour of advertisements (Commercial and Self promotional) during peak hours (7PM - 10 pm).’
The 12 minutes ad-cap rule was set up by TRAI in 2013, restricting the TV channels (news and non-news) from showing advertisements exceeding 12 minutes per hour, which includes 10 minutes of commercial advertisements and two minutes of self-promotions by the channel. After being challenged by the broadcasters, the ad-cap matter is sub-judice in the Delhi high court.
The rule on advertising limits was set up after TRAI received complaints from viewers about the long ad breaks. However, in December 2013, the News Broadcasters’ Association (NBA), the representative body of news channels, and certain TV channels like 9X Media, Sun TV Network and B4U Broadband filed a petition against the rule. But the case has so far been adjourned from time to time on the plea that the government and the broadcasters are in talks on this issue. In a latest development, the hearing has been postponed by the Delhi High Court till August 1, 2016.
The court has already directed that the order that TRAI would not take any action against any channel pending the petition would continue.