Mumbai: Broadcasters from television networks, such as Aaj Tak, NDTV, BBC, Sahara, Star and Zee, met with information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi on Wednesday to discuss the government’s plan to ban the telecast of surrogate or brand-extension advertising.
While advertising of liquor and tobacco products are banned on health grounds, companies have been using the same brand names for other product categories such as sodas and retail chains.
Broadcasters attempted to change the ministry’s mind on the proposed ban, which could mean a significant loss of advertising revenue for them.
The broadcasters were represented by Jawahar Goel, managing director Dish TV; Joy Chakraborthy, president, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd; Paritosh Joshi, president, advertising sales and distribution, Star India; and Preet Dhupar, director, finance and operations, BBC World.
Another issue raised was how, until a week ago, the Central Board for Film Certification was certifying such TV ads. The board no longer has the power to do so and the ministry is expected to directly view all complaints related to extension ads. Broadcasters, however, say they are confused as to what could be termed surrogate or not, and as to what certification they should be getting and who’s the real regulating authority.
According to Dish TV’s Goel, who is also the president of Indian Broadcasting Foundation, “A lot of ads now are running without appropriate certification, such as for IPL Royal Challengers. Also, we brought to their attention that there are no such clamps on advertising on other media such as print. The minister said he will discuss these points with the health ministry and get back to us in a week’s time.”
UB Group, which owns the Bangalore Royal Challengers team for the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, sells liquor under the Royal Challenge brand.
Broadcasters had been told to stop accepting ads that use same brand names of liquor or tobacco products to promote non-liquor or non-tobacco items from 28 March. If there is a clamp on that, TV ad spends could fall by Rs250 crore, says one broadcaster.
Says Chandradeep Mitra, president, Mudra Max of Mudra Group: “I think that there should be a genuine authority deciding on what’s legitimate and what’s not, instead of broadcasters and agencies being told to decide on what’s legitimate.”
The minister said at the meeting he will soon take a decision on TV audience measurement systems.