Home >industry >advertising >NBA seeks final notification on hourly advertising time

New Delhi: News Broadcasters Association (NBA), a lobby group for the national television news channels, has requested the broadcasting ministry as well as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to publish a final notification on the hourly advertising time news channels will be allowed.

“NBA requests MIB (ministry of information and broadcasting) and Trai to come out with a final notification...in the next 10 days as any delays beyond that will have an irreparable impact on the industry," the lobby group said in a statement.

The ministry had earlier said that the 12-minutes-an-hour advertising cap recommended by Trai in March was not feasible for news channels and that the 1 October deadline should be extended for them till more areas across India are digitized. Digitization is a process by which the channels can only be received through a set-top box, thereby increasing addressability of audiences. Alleged under-reporting by cable operators hits the subscription revenue of channels.

“We have been talking to Trai. We have requested the authority to give the news channels more time. Given the economic environment and so much bloodletting, it’s worthwhile to give them time," Manish Tewari, minister of information and broadcasting, said in an interview on Tuesday. “We do expect that Trai will take our request into cognisance."

The lobby group endorsed Tewari’s views.

“The NBA respectfully agrees with the Minister for I&B that the 12 minutes cap on advertisements per clock hour be kept in abeyance and such restrictions kick in only when the benefits of digitisation are apparent so that broadcasting companies can make good their advertising losses with subscription fee," said the statement.

In the backdrop of slowing economic growth, restrictions on advertising will have a catastrophic impact on revenues of news broadcasters, NBA said.

“It is estimated that if the ad cap were indeed implemented at this stage, the revenue loss across news channels would be in excess of 500 crore, forcing cuts of at least that amount in costs, if channels have to survive," it said.

Trai chairman Rahul Khullar didn’t respond to phone call and text messages from Mint.

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