Channels free to decide gap between ad breaks

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has softened its stance on the gap between advertisement breaks during television programmes.

The regulator has proposed to delete the clause that required the gap between the end of one advertisement session and the commencement of next advertisement session to be not less than 15 minutes. In the case of broadcast of a film or a movie, the time gap between ad breaks was 30 minutes.

Now, television channels can decide on their own the advertisement breaks they wish to take during programmes.

TRAI has proposed this in a draft amendment to the regulation titled The Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) Regulations, 2012. The regulations were notified on May 14, 2012.

Trai has proposed amendments to the regulation despite a stay by the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT on a plea by broadcasters.

Trai also stated that it will issue orders to ensure compliance of the provisions of the regulations.

Trai has also made it mandatory for broadcasters to submit the details of advertisements carried on its channel within 15 days from the end of a calendar quarter in a specified format. The first such report will have to be furnished to Trai for the quarter ending 31 December 2012, by 15 January 2013.

The authority contended that the need for regulation aroused from the fact that the duration of advertisements carried during the programmes in the TV channels is closely related to the quality of viewing experience of the consumers.

The quality of viewing experience of the consumers is akin to the quality of service provided by the service providers to the consumers, Trai said.

The advertisement regulations have been fiercely opposed by the broadcasters arguing Trai has no authority to issue such orders particularly since the issue is already covered in the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

The broadcasters contend that the Indian broadcasters‘ heavy reliance on advertising revenues is due to the "non-addressable nature of the cable TV networks," and "gross under declaration of the subscriber base". They also favoured self-regulation rather than the Trai forcing it on the broadcasters particularly at a time when content costs are going up.

Contesting Trai‘s premise that such a regulation is needed since the country is moving towards a digitised environment, the broadcasters say that regulation should happen after cable digitisation becomes fully addressable wherein income arising out of subscription revenue sees a significant rise.

Also Read:

Broadcasters get breathing space as Tdsat stays Trai‘s ad cap rule

MSOs divided on Trai‘s ad regulation policy

Broadcasters set to challenge Trai regulation on ads

TV networks flay Trai for ad regulation

Trai caps TV ad breaks at 12 minutes per hour

Trai‘s ad review policy to hurt biz models of sportscasters

News channels ask Trai to sort out carriage before capping ad time

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