New Delhi: Free-to-air channels may soon get relief as the government is mulling a rule change which would allow them to show more advertisements than the present ad-cap of 12 minutes per hour.

“We are taking a decision....that free-to-air (FTA) channels should be exempt from the restriction of the 12 minutes ad-cap," information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday.

The minister, however, indicated that for pay channels the existing limit of 12 minutes per hour of advertisements would continue and suggested that the proposed rule change could become a sort of incentive for them to turn FTA.

He said that the consumer’s burden has to be reduced and if a channel is showing “too many" advertisements then it should also be free-to-air.

Javadekar was speaking at a meeting of a task force on digitization held in New Delhi. He told reporters that the 12 minute restriction is appropriate for pay channels. “But for FTA channels, which are providing programmes for free, is this restriction necessary for them? I don’t think this is needed. And we will soon take a decision in this regard," he said.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has stipulated that there should be a 12 minute cap on advertisements that channels can show in an hour. However, several broadcasters have been opposing this rule.

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