TRAI sticks to 12-minute ad regulation in fresh draft, seeks feedback

28 Aug,2012

By A Correspondent

 

Expect a fresh round of litigation or at least a war-via-the-media as negative responses have already started coming in on the new TRAI recommendations on ad duration. On Monday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India issued fresh guidelines on the duration of advertisements suggesting that no broadcaster can carry advertisements exceeding twelve minutes in a clock. Every broadcaster is required to present a report on ads carried within 15 days of the end of the quarter, with the first report to be submitted on January 15, 2013 for the Oct-Dec 2012 quarter.

 

The TRAI released the draft regulation “Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) (Amendment) Regulations, 2012” on Monday for consultation with stakeholders.

 

In the new draft, the explanatory note highlights the advertising code with the following:

  • The picture and the audible matter of the advertisement shall not be excessively ‘loud
  • All advertisement should be clearly distinguishable from the programme and should not in any manner interfere with the programme viz., use of lower part of screen to viz., use of lower part of screen to carry

 

carry captions, static or moving alongside the programme.

  •  No programme shall carry advertisements exceeding 12 minutes per hour, which may include up to 10 minutes per hour of commercial advertisements, and up to 2 minutes per hour of a channel’s self-promotional programmes.”

 

Given the above, although some of the earlier suggestions have been eased, the status is unchanged for news and sports channels who were most opposed to the regulation. There is a restriction on the use of the lower part of the screen to carry captions – static or moving alongside.

 

All television channels are required to follow the advertising code as prescribed in the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994, and as amended from time to time. However, many broadcasters do not following the provisions laid down in the advertising code. A consultation paper, titled “Issues related to Advertisements in the TV channels” was issued on March 16 with comments from various stakeholders and consumers sought. The TRAI then notified the “Standards of Quality of Service (Duration Of Advertisements in Television Channels) Regulations” on May 14.

 

There was an uproar even as public opinion was divided on the issue. The regulation was challenged by several broadcasters in TDSAT with the TRAI’s role in administering the issue also being questioned. The current draft  regulation “Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) (Amendment) Regulations, 2012” has been prepared for consultation with stakeholders.

 

The full text of the draft regulations is available on TRAI’s website (www.trai.gov.in) and responses are expected to reach the regulator by September 10.

 

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2 responses to “TRAI sticks to 12-minute ad regulation in fresh draft, seeks feedback”

  1. Dinyar Contractor says:

    28 Aug, 2012 03:03 PM

    1. 12 MINUTE LIMIT
    There is Nothing New in the TRAI Proposal, its only a Long Overdue wake up call by the regulator.

    Actually the Cable Act, 20 Years ago has limited ads to 12 minutes per hour. Probably due to an oversight, the law did not Explicitly state that the ad time would be computed per hour. Broadcasters have exploited this lacuna by clubbing 24 Hrs worth of ad time and funneling it during 3 to 4 hours of Prime Time! Some News Channels carry ad for 51% of their prime time ! This is a nuisance for TV viewers, and also impacts the recall that advertisers receive for their ads, as they may not stand out from the clutter. The TRAI’s recommendations are reasonable and just, and certainly in the interests of the 100 Million plus TV viewers.

    2. SCROLLING ADS BAN
    the TRAI has also REMINDED ( its Not a New Impose) that the 2 decade old Cable act dictates :

    “”All advertisement should be clearly distinguishable from the programme and should not in any manner interfere with the programme viz., use of lower part of screen to carry captions, static or moving alongside the programme.” .

    Pop up Ads have been banned all along. Only the government ( and viewers) have failed to pull up offending channels. I do remember that viewers did Howl in protest when Cable Operators inserted their local pop up ads. But Brutus (B’caster) is an honourable Man ! 😉

  2. peter mukerjea says:

    Well done TRAI. This is a good and positive move by the regulator in bringing Indian Television to the modern era and now it has to ensure that broadcasters follow the rules. A level playing field for all broadcasters will enable them to compete more effectively based on content presentation and quality, rather than on being able to destroy the content with ad breaks and then to stuff the breaks with commercials, making it a nightmare for viewers. This move also help broadcasters to get ad rates up ( which advertisers will not appreciate ) but ad rates going up should be a fact of life, rather than simply increasing revenue by increasing the number of ads.

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