TDSAT reprieve for broadcasters, stays TRAI’s ad duration rule

12 Jun,2012

By Shruti Pushkarna

 

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has stayed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) notification to limit the duration of ads to 12 minutes per hour. The case will come up for hearing next on July 17.

 

The TDSAT stay comes is a relief to broadcasters who slammed the TRAI’s move to limit the duration of ads on their networks. Uday Shankar, President of Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and CEO of Star India has confirmed the development to MxMIndia.

 

In an earlier statement, Mr Shankar had said, “TRAI has no jurisdiction in the subject. Advertising is governed by the Cable and Satellite Act and the appropriate authority is with the ministry of information and broadcasting. The regulator is overstepping its brief.”

 

Speaking to MxMIndia after the stay order by TDSAT, Mr Sunil Lulla, Vice-President, IBF and Managing Director & CEO of Times Television Network said, “Since the stay is only for a month, there’s another hearing coming up. It’s not appropriate for us to comment when it’s work in progress. As for our stand on the ad cap issued by TRAI, our stand is well known and it won’t change.” Mr Lulla, who is also on the Board of Directors of the News Broadcasters Association, had criticized the TRAI’s decision on limiting the duration of ads, in the past. He said, “This move is completely ridiculous. Self-regulation is the best regulation.”

 

Broadcasters believe that low revenues from subscription leave them no option but to rely heavily on revenues from advertising. However, there is a large section of media professionals and consumer organizations which which believes that broadcasters have misused the leeway given to them so far, and the number of ads screened at peak hours mars the viewer experience.

 

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