New Delhi: As many as 127 channels (news and non-news) failed to comply with the 12-minute advertisement cap rule of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) between 27 June and 25 September 2016, according to a list released by the regulator.
The ad-cap rule, notified by Trai in 2013, restricts the television channels from airing advertisements for more than 12 minutes per hour (10 minutes of commercial advertisements and two minutes of self-promotions by the channel).
The order was challenged by broadcasters and is currently sub-judice in the Delhi high court.
According to a list, uploaded on Trai’s website, 104 pay non-news channels and 23 pay news channels, on an average, carried more than 12 minutes of advertisements per hour between 7pm and 10pm during the three months ending 25 September 2016.
Between 28 March and 26 June 2016, Trai, however, had recorded 137 defaulting channels (112 pay non-news channels and 25 pay news channels).
B4U Television Network India Ltd-owned movie channel B4U Movies aired the maximum advertisements for 25.79 minutes per hour, followed by Sun TV Network Ltd-owned seven channels including Sun TV, Udaya Movies, Gemini TV and Sun Life.
About 25 non-news channels including Sony Pictures Networks -owned Sony Pal and Sony Entertainment channel, Star India-owned Star Plus and Movies OK carried advertisements for more than 15 minutes per hour, according to the regulator.
Among the non-news channels, IBN Lokmat News Private Limited-owned IBN Lokmat topped the list and aired 18.64 minutes per hour of ads, followed by five Eenadu television channels (ETV UP, ETV Rajasthan, ETV Bihar, ETV Bangla and ETV Urdu).
However, the regulator can’t take any action against these channels because “the case is still pending in high court. Trai can’t enforce the law currently. This is just an academic exercise for Trai," said an executive at a leading broadcaster who didn’t wish to be identified.
Trai had set the advertising limits in 2013 after receiving complaints from viewers about long advertising breaks. The rule was challenged by the News Broadcasters’ Association (NBA) and certain TV channels like 9X Media, Sun TV Network and B4U Broadband in December 2013.
The matter is due in Delhi high court on 20 April.