The broadcasting industry Monday agreed to abide by a 12-minute limit on advertising per hour of programming starting 1 October, agreeing to toe the regulator’s line.
The decision was made after broadcast industry representatives met Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) officials.
Earlier this month, Trai issued a notification asking television channels to stick to the advertising limit. The regulator had issued the quality of service norms in May 2012 as well. However, the channels didn’t comply and challenged the jurisdiction of Trai in the matter in the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).
The broadcasters agreed to a phased shift to the limit following Trai’s unwillingness to relent.
In a communication to all news channels, Annie Joseph, secretary general of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), has said that the channels must start reducing their ad inventory beginning 1 June.
The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has also asked its members to begin reducing ads starting next month.
“As a first step to transition, all broadcasters need to confine advertising to less than 30 minutes with immediate effect. The consequences for not conforming, given the stance Trai is taking, can be paralyzing and will lead to prosecution. This will be strictly enforced by Trai from 1 June,” IBF secretary general Shailesh Shah said in a communication to members.
From 1 July, every television channel that offers news services needs to confine advertising to 20 minutes per hour, while all other channels have to limit this to 16 minutes.
This will be in force until 30 September, following which the 12-minute rule will be enforced. According to sources current total inventory on channels is much lower than 12 minutes per hour if averaged out across the day. It exceeds 12 minutes only during prime time, the person said.
These decisions are only of the industry bodies and no comments have come from TRAI approving the same.