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News channels opt for self regulation on ad duration from today

15-May-2013
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News channels opt for self regulation on ad duration from today

With the tug of war between broadcasters and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) continuing over the 10+2 ad duration, broadcasters have now found their own equation for ad breaks in a clock hour of programming.

As explained by a leading broadcaster, the fixed commercial time (FCT) will now be 18 minutes of ads plus 3 minutes of promos for Hindi news channels, and 15 minutes of ads and 3 minutes of promos for English news channels.

One of the broadcasters, on conditions of anonymity, shared, “We have started the trial of this new ad breaks a few days back and the same will be applicable in a full-fledged manner from May 15 onwards. In order to apply the new advertisement timings we have cut down our inventory as well.”

With the implementation of the new commercial timings, news channels will be cutting down 10 minutes from the earlier ad breaks.

TRAI and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting are yet to react to these new commercial timings.

As is known, a year ago, TRAI had introduced the 10+2 ad cap under regulation 5 of the Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) Regulations, 2012 (15 of 2012). However, broadcasters have been found to frequently violate this rule. According to the broadcasters, with the digitisation process yet to be completed in the entire country, subscription revenues are not flowing in, and hence, it is premature to go ahead with the 10+2 ad duration.

Moreover, some of the broadcasters feel that the issue of ad duration doesn’t come under the purview of TRAI and that the regulator is overreaching itself.

Both TRAI and the MIB have taken serious note of the ad duration violations. In an earlier interview with exchange4media, Uday Varma, Secretary, MIB had said, “One can understand if the 12 minute ad duration is extended to 13 or 15 minutes. But why does it come to 30-35 minutes on some channels? Nobody can justify it. Just because broadcaster’s business model isn’t working, they cannot do 55 minutes of advertisement and 5 minutes of news content.”

Taking cognizance of the seriousness of the 10+2 ad duration issue and with broadcasters failing to adhere to this ad cap, last month TRAI had released a format for filing quarterly reports that need to be submitted by the broadcasters.

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