Broadcasters have slammed TRAI order to cap the number of advertisements to 12 minutes for every clock hour describing it as a "death warrant" and an "ambush" that would end in channels closing down due to costs overruns and heavy carriage fees.
News Broadcasters Association (NBA) president and NDTV executive vice-chairperson K V L Narayan Rao said, ‘They will be approaching the appropriate government authorities for dialogue. "We were not aware that such a stringent law was in the offing , this move will be a death knell for news broadcasters because of the realities of our revenue model. The mainstay for news broadcasters remains advertising revenues with no subscription from consumers. Also, costs remain very high because of high carriage fees,'' he said.
India TV editorin-chief Rajat Sharma said, "TRAI restriction on advertisements sounds like a death warrant for news channels. Since we are already on death bed due to heavy carriage fees, low advertising rates and lack of subscription revenue , limiting inventory to ten minutes per hour will suffocate news channels.'' Prohibitive cost of running a channel coupled with carriage fees has left very little elbow room for broadcasters. Sharma added that the annual cost of running a news channel was Rs 10-15 crore, while carriage fees itself amounted to Rs 50-55 crore a year.
According to Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) president and Multi Screen Media Limited (MSML) CEO Manjit Singh, This was a very wrong step taken by TRAI on an issue over which it had no jurisdiction. "This will damage all broadcasters. While at IBF we think this is an appropriate step to be taken but TRAI has jumped the gun.”