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No plans to remove 12 mins ad cap for TV channels: TRAI sources

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NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is not considering any move to do away with the advertising cap of 12 minutes per hour for all television channels.

A TRAI source told Indiantelevision.com that even otherwise, a notification issued by the Authority can only be amended through another notification after the issuance of a consultation paper and consultation with stakeholders.

When his attention was drawn to the reported statement of a union minister to the effect that the ad cap served no purpose, the source said that TRAI had not received any instructions in this regard and would in any case take its own decision. He also drew attention to the fact that the matter was pending in court.

Meanwhile, the National Cable & Telecommunication Association and the Malwa Cable Operator Sangh have urged the Authority not to consider a blanket rolling back of its own decision - Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) Regulations 2012 - of an ad cap of 12 minutes per hour for all TV channels.

In separate but similar letters to TRAI chairman R S Sharma, the two bodies have said that it is imperative to appreciate the difference between those channels, which charge subscriptions and those that are free to air (FTA) before any decision is taken.

In their letters, Vikki Choudhary and Rahul Rawat who head the two organisations respectively have said it is important to categorise TV channels into three groups - FTA channels, FTV (Free To View) channels and Pay TV channels.

The FTA and the FTV channels do not charge any subscription while Pay TV Channels charge a monthly subscription fee from consumers, collected through the Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs).

They have therefore said there should be no advertisement duration permitted on these Pay TV channels. The duo pointed out that this is also an international norm and a logical way of doing the TV channel broadcast business worldwide.

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