138 TV channels aired more than 12 mins of ads between Jan-Mar: TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has found 138 news and non-news channels to be airing ads in excess of 12 minutes in a clock hour for the period January to 25 March 2018.

As per the details provided by TRAI based on the data submitted by broadcasters, 99 non-news channels and 39 news channels have been airing more than 12 minutes average duration of ads during peak hours 7-10 pm.

The ads include commercial as well as self-promotion.

Among the non-news channels, B4U Television Network’s B4U Movies is airing the highest duration of ads at 25.88 minutes followed by HHP Broadcasting Services’ Dabangg (22.87 minutes), and B4U Music (20.22 minutes).

Two channels, Rupashii Bangla and Mastii, are airing over 19 minutes of ads in a clock hour.

Major pay-TV broadcasters like Star India, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), Viacom18, Sun TV Network and ZEEL have been airing over 12 minutes of ads.

Sun TV Network channels are airing anywhere between 12.28 to 17.79 minutes of ads. The broadcaster’s Sun Life channel has the most ads followed by Adithya and Udaya Movies.

Other broadcasters like Star India, SPNI, Viacom18, and ZEEL between 12 minutes to just under 16 minutes of ads.

As many as 35 channels had over 15 minutes of ad duration while 13 channels were found to be airing over 14 minutes of ad duration. The rest 51 channels had crossed the line just by a minute with 12-13 minutes of ad duration.

As far as news channels are concerned, three channels namely News Time Bangla, ABP News, and NDTV India had over 20 minutes of ad duration. India Today TV had the least duration of ads at 12.29 minutes.

The list of channels that crossed the 12-minute ad cap includes English, Hindi as well as regional news channels.

The TRAI noted that the information is based on the data submitted by the broadcasters and the authority bears no responsibility for the correctness of same.

The TRAI’s ad cap rule has been stayed by the Delhi High Court after it was challenged by the news, music, and regional channels. The HC has directed TRAI to not take coercive action against the TV channels that have challenged the regulation.

The matter has been getting adjourned since it was filed in December 2013. The next date of hearing is 26 September.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology (IT) had recently asked the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) to regulate the duration of ads aired by TV channels in order to protect the consumer interest.

The committee headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur noted that both the free to air (FTA) as well as the pay channels are having a free run subjecting consumers to the frequent long dose of ads during a programme.

“The committee recommends that steps must be taken to regulate the permissible duration and frequency of advertisements during a programme to ensure that in order to maximise their advertisement revenue, broadcasters do not force the viewers to bear repetitive slots of advertisement in quick succession without any check whatsoever,” the committee had said in its 44th report.

It also asked the MIB to ensure that ads being run in scroll/ticker should not cover more than 10% of the TV screen space and also not spoil the aesthetic sense of the programmes being telecast. It also stated that there should not be any vertical display (running or static) of an ad on TV screen by any TV channel.

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