Over 130 pay channels not complying with Trai’s ad-cap rule

103 pay non-news channels and 30 pay news channels carried more than 12 minutes per hour of advertisements during peak hours from 28 December to 27 March


Trai had set the advertising limits after receiving complaints from viewers about the long advertising breaks. Photo: Mint
Trai had set the advertising limits after receiving complaints from viewers about the long advertising breaks. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Friday said that as many as 133 pay channels (news and non-news) failed to comply with the 12-minute ad cap rule of the authority between December and March.

The 12 minutes ad-cap rule, which was notified by the regulator in 2013, restricts the TV channels (news and non-news) from showing advertisements exceeding 12 minutes per hour, which includes 10 minutes of commercial advertisements and two minutes of self-promotions by the channel. After being challenged by the broadcasters, the ad-cap matter is sub-judice in the Delhi high court.

According to the data uploaded on the official website of Trai, 103 pay non-news channels and 30 pay news channels carried more than 12 minutes (on an average) per of hour of advertisements (commercial & self promotional) during peak hours (7 pm and 10 pm) from 28 December to 27 March.

A Trai official explained that the regulator considers only pay channels while evaluating the duration of advertisements during peak hours.

“There must be other channels like free-to-air channels which violate the 12-minute rule. Besides, our evaluation takes into account only the peak hours,” he said on condition of anonymity while noting that there are nearly 51 broadcasters and 263 pay channels in India.

In certain cases, these channels aired advertisements for more than 20 minutes per hour. B4U Movies on average aired 23.41 minutes per hour of ads, while ETV Rajasthan, owned by Panorama Television Pvt. Ltd, showed ads for 24.83 minutes per hour. New Delhi Television Ltd-owned NDTV India aired 20.67 minutes per hour of advertisements.

Trai also said that the information provided by the regulator is based on the data submitted by the broadcasters. Broadcasters, when contacted, refused to comment as the matter is in the courts.

Trai had set the advertising limits after receiving complaints from viewers about the long advertising breaks. However, in December 2013, the News Broadcasters’ Association (NBA) and certain TV channels like 9X Media, Sun TV Network and B4U Broadband filed a petition against the rule, in which Trai and the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry were listed as the respondents.

NBA is the representative body of news channels in the country.

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