NEW DELHI: Indian TV viewers are going to be a delighted bunch.
Reason: the number of TV commercials being bombarded at them on
TV channels just got reduced.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ad cap regime imposed
on news and general entertainment channels came into force today
with an upper limit of 20 and 16 minutes per hour respectively.
This will run till 30 September, following which the 12-minute rule
will come into play from 1 October.
Both Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and the News Broadcasters
Association (NBA) have said their members are following the regime,
the first phase of which came into effect on 29 May when its members
agreed not to exceed 30 minutes of advertising per hour. IBF president
Man Jit Singh and NBA president K V L Narayan Rao told indiantelevision.com
that the TV channels would stand by their commitment to the government
since this was now the law.
The final decision of 29 May had taken a lot of wrangling, with
the matter also going to the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate
Tribunal against TRAI which insisted that it was only implementing
a regulation which was part of the Cable TV Networks Rules 1994.
Following this, the IBF Board finally appointed a committee of five
persons - K V L Narayan Rao, Zee Entertainment CEO Puneet Goenka,
Asianet managing director K Madhavan and Disney UTV media managing
director K Anand with the assistance of secretary general Shailesh
Shah - to research, debate, consult and arrive at what will work.
The committee admitted in its report that some channels especially
those in regional languages ran more than 30 minutes of advertising
per hour. Shah, however, claimed to indiantelevision.com that the
per hour ad time works out to just over 11 minutes if a full-day
average is taken.
The TRAI, however, says it is going to keep a sharp eye on each
channel to ensure that there is no violation of the time cap set
on the TV broadcast industry. TRAI would continue to monitor
the timing of commercials per hour by various channels, says
TRAI principal advisor on broadcasting and media N Parameswaran.
It is quite likely that the air time reduction, could result in
revenue losses for the channels. Though none of the broadcast bodies
have clearly highlighted how much this erosion could be, media buyers
do acknowledge that broadcasters will no doubt hike ad rates with
the implementation of 12 minute ad cap on 1 October.
The impact cannot be felt as of now. Once the ad time comes
down to 12 minutes (across GECs) in October that is when the crunch
will be felt, said an executive from a leading media buying
and planning company. June to September is a lean period for advertising
on channels, especially considering it is the monsoon season all
There are also few who believe that the ad cap restriction will
improve quality of viewing. Madison Group COO- buying Neel Kamal
Sharma opines, It is a win-win situation. On one hand the
advertisers will benefit as now they can target their audiences
in an effective way. The broadcasters will also increase their ad
rates. Parallel to this even digitisation will bring in extra revenue
for the broadcasters, decreasing their dependence on ad revenue.
hopes for the transition to take place in a fair manner, which has
been recognized by all without shifting the entire burden onto advertisers.
We must take a long term view of the situation and handle
it carefully as some people may try to take advantage of the situation
to increase rates disproportionately which may neither be good for
them nor good for TV industrys growth in the long run as many
advertisers have already started exploring alternative options,
message for broadcasters is clear: take tiny steps - together with
your advertising partners. Don't go for the long jump; you might
end up jumping alone.