No solution seems to be in sight to find a breakthrough in the ad break duration issue. It may be recalled that around 10 days back the News Broadcasting Association had come up with ad caps of 18+3 for Hindi news channels and 15+3 for English news channels and the channels seemed to agree with this. However, the implementation of the self-regulated ad cap is yet to be seen across channels.
When asked about the reason that is preventing broadcasters from implementing the new ad cap, some broadcasters disclosed that placement of in-house promotions between the ads as well as a subscription model were yet to be in place, besides there were various other coordination issues.
Broadcasters continue to insist that Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) 10+2 ad cap should not be implemented before the digitisation is completed throughout the country and subscription revenues kick in. A scan through all channel genres shows that this ad cap in not being followed, be it GECs, news channels or regional channels. It has been observed that on an average, news channels and GECs are airing 25 minutes of ads in one clock hour of programming.
A leading broadcaster, on conditions of anonymity, candidly admitted that it is difficult for broadcasters to implement even the new ad cap as almost all channels are not making profits and advertising is the only source of revenue. The broadcaster further said that only those channels that do not have much inventory are the ones implementing the new ad cap.
In an earlier interview with exchange4media, Vikram Chandra, Group CEO, NDTV had said, “No one is saying we shouldn’t eventually have a reduction in the amount of minutes for advertising. What the broadcasters are saying is that there is a certain process that has to be followed and a logical sequencing of that.”
He further said, “With digitisation, we are going to see subscription revenues going up and carriage fees going down, as a result of which the reliance on advertising goes down and once that happens, we will have all sorts of other things like ad caps.”