Regulators

I&B Ministry may relax FTA channels from proposed 10+2 ad cap

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NEW DELHI: The News broadcasters, music channels as well as a few general entertainment channels are still fighting the case against the 12 minute advertising cap per hour proposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). While they await the decision of the Delhi High Court, news is that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) may consider a relaxation in the proposed ad cap for the Free to Air (FTA) channels as these channels depend only on commercials for survival.

A source from the Ministry confirmed the news to indintelevision.com while adding that the ad cap fixed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, was in view of the international practice in other countries.

It was in March 2013, when the TRAI had notified the regulations, which restricted advertising time on TV channels to a maximum of 12 minutes per hour. The Regulator had then said that the move was to protect the interest of consumers and quality of service being offered to them.  

I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar has assured the FTA channels at various forums that he would favourably consider their plea of scrapping the proposed 12 minute ad cap.

The FTA channels claim that as they are pitted against pay channels, that also get subscription fee, there is a need for the government to intervene to create a level-playing field.

Of the 810 channels approved by the government as of 31 August 2014, close to 548 are FTA, which include both news and non-news channels.

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