In its regulations dated 14 May 2012 on 'Standards of Quality of Service' for TV channels, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has capped the duration of advertisements to 12 minutes per clock hour (including two minutes of channel promos).
The regulations also stipulate that the minimum time gap between two consecutive advertisement breaks should not be less than 15 minutes. In the case of movies, this should be a minimum of 30 minutes. The conditions shall not apply in case of ads during live broadcast of a sporting event, in which case, ads should only be aired during the breaks as per the new regulations.
Industry bodies including Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF), News Broadcasters Association (NAB) and The Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) have not issued an official statement on their stand.
Campaign India's queries to industry stakeholders elicited a mixed response.
"Ridiculous!," was the one-word response from Sunil Lulla, managing director and chief executive officer, Times Television Network, when asked about his views on the regulations.
Srinivasan K Swamy, chairman and managing director, R K Swamy BBDO, said, "The capping of duration of advertisements have been in effect for a while now on GEC channels. The new regulations will certainly mean an increase of advertising rates following the decrease in advertisement inventory. I feel the regulations for sports channels is a bit harsh, as the acquisition rates of content is high. With CAS regime in place, the cost for television viewing will also increase."
The TRAI regulation also states that broadcasters will also have to ensure that the audio level of ads cannot be higher than the audio level of the programme being telecast.
TRAI has also said that part-screen and drop-down advertisements shall not be permitted and that all advertisements have to occupy the full screen.
More updates to follow.