India caps TV ads

India’s media regulator has upset most broadcasters by limiting the number of TV ads that can be shown in any 1 hour period to 12 minutes. Worse, as far as broadcasters are concerned, is that unused ad-minutes cannot be carried over. This reverses a pattern of operation where broadcasters could average their ad-minutes transmitted from the low-impact overnight hours to the much more valuable day-time and primetime transmissions.

India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) also says that there must be 15 minutes between each ad-break, and 30 minutes when a movie is being screened. Even more tough regulations apply to sports transmissions, which are exempt from the above rules but where there must now only be an ad break where there is a natural break in the sporting action.

News channels are also badly hit. TRAI says news broadcasts must fill the screen and that drop-down or part-screen advertising elements can no longer be shown.

Self-promotion of a channel’s own shows (or cross-promotion of a partner station) are allowed but they come out of the 12 minute limit.

TRAI also wants broadcasters to maintain the same audio levels during ad breaks as that being used for the normal programming.

TRAI says: “Since the dawn of the television, advertisements have been used to promote a wide variety of goods and services. Advertisements provide for a significant portion of the revenue of the television industry. The broadcasters of the free to air channels rely solely on the advertisements as their source of revenue, while the pay channel broadcasters have twofold source of revenue in the form of advertisement and subscription revenues.”

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