NEW DELHI: So it looks like the Sony Entertainment Television network's position on the ad cap situation seems right - at least for now. It was announced today that all matters challenging the issues relating to the ad cap sought to be implemented by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will be heard by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on 21 October.
After hearing counsel Abhishek Malhotra and other counsel, TRAI assured TDSAT that it will not take any coercive action against any more television channels including New Delhi-based E24 run by E 24 Glamour and Chennai-based Polimer Media's channel, among others.
The counsel for TRAI told TDSAT that an anomalous situation had been created with some channels having accepted the ad cap with effect from today, 1 October. It was therefore requested that the matter be resolved once and for all.
Last week, TRAI had given a similar order in the case of Mastiii (owned by TV Vision, Mumbai), B4U, 9X Media, M Tunes HD and Music Xpress.
Earlier, TDSAT had accepted a similar petition by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) which challenged the constitutional validity of the regulations of TRAI enforcing the ad cap. That petition had been listed for hearing on 11 November but will be heard along with the others.
The Tribunal had earlier said that while the channels will maintain weekly records of the advertising time per hour, they will not be required to submit this to the regulator. Unlike the current practice, the records will only be submitted to TDSAT at the time of the hearing of the case.
At that time, Counsel A J Bhambani for the NBA had said that a delegation of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) had submitted a formula to the regulator but that did not preclude the broadcasters from challenging the validity of the regulations.
He also said that this was only a compromise reached between the broadcasters and the regulator and could not form the basis of penal action since it was not a regulation or legal provision.