TRAI invites views on ads policy for broadcasters

19 Mar,2012

By A Correspondent


It was bound to happen, only its timing – soon after the not-very-exciting Budget and the uncertainties thrown up by digitization staring in its face – could’ve been unfriendlier. On Day 3 of FICCI-Frames, Big brother Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a consultation paper titled “Issues Related to Advertisements in TV Channels”.


First some background, in TRAI’s words: “The advertisement revenue has been a substantial portion of the overall television industry revenues. Perhaps, this has led to the tendency of pushing more and more advertisements in the television programmes in both pay and FTA channels. The increasing duration and distracting formats of advertisements has, however, adversely affected the consumers’ viewing experience. This has been reflected in numerous consumer complaints and opinions being expressed at various fora.”


The TRAI is hence reviewing the existing regulations on duration of ads and how they should be presented given complaints that these are not being followed. Here goes:


1. The limits for the duration of the advertisements shall be regulated on a clock hour basis i.e. the prescribed limits shall be enforced on clock hour basis.

2. No FTA channel shall carry advertisements exceeding 12 minutes in a clock hour. For pay channels, this limit shall be 6 minutes.

3. The 12 minutes of advertisements will not be in more than 4 sessions in one hour. In other words, there will be continuous airing of the TV show for at least 12 minutes each. Not more than three advertisement breaks shall be allowed during telecast of a movie with the minimum gap of 30 minutes between consecutive advertisement breaks.

4. In case of sporting events being telecast live, the advertisements shall only be carried during the interruptions in the sporting action i.e. half time in football or hockey match, lunch/ drinks break in cricket matches, game/set change in case of lawn tennis and so on.

5. There shall only be full screen advertisements. Part screen advertisements will not be permitted. Drop down advertisements will also not be permitted.

6. In so far as News and Current Affairs channels are concerned, they are allowed to run not more than two scrolls at the bottom of the screen and occupying not more than 10 per cent of the screen space for carrying non-commercial scrolls, tickers etc.

7. The audio level of the advertisements shall not be higher than the audio level of the programme.


The text of the Consultation Paper is available on TRAI’s website ( cp_aproved_Authority.pdf). Written comments on the issues raised in the Paper are invited from the stakeholders by March 27, 2012, and counter-comments by April 2.


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