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Broadcasters’ body opposes TRAI move to restrict ad time

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi March 26 | Updated on March 26, 2013

The broadcasters’ association said the industry was largely dependant on advertising revenues for its sustenance. — M. Vedhan

Television broadcasters are against the Telecom Regulatory Authority’s of India (TRAI) recent notification restricting the duration of advertisements to 12 minutes per hour.

Calling for withdrawal of the regulation, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has urged TRAI to re-initiate a “participatory dialogue” and let advertising duration be self-regulated which, it said, would be in line with the global standards.

Stating that the television industry was reeling under the after-effects of the global economic recession, the broadcasters’ association said the industry was largely dependant on advertising revenues for its sustenance.

“IBF has been working with TRAI over the last several months to arrive at a way forward on the quantum of advertising duration. Its fundamental stance has always been to self-regulate, aligned with globally practised standards,” IBF said in a statement, adding that the “trickle-back effect” from the first stage of digitisation was yet to begin. The broadcasters said while carriage fee remained a burden, cable television tariffs had also not gone up since 2005.

“HD (high definition) TV and pay channel revenues are just about beginning to happen and will take time to start providing economic value. These factors need concomitant addressing. Regulation on just advertising minuteage will have a severe impact on the survival of the broadcasting industry from amputation of a critical arm of the fourth estate,” it said.

The broadcasters said while none of the players were in disagreement with the overall objective of the notification, it added that any such regulation needed to be in line with the economic sustenance of the broadcasting business and should be aligned to the full value of digitisation becoming a reality.

The IBF’s call for withdrawal comes after the News Broadcasters Association had urged the Government to ensure that any such regulation was “kept in abeyance” till digitisation was fully implemented in the country. Stating that with nearly 90 per cent of the revenues of news broadcasters coming from advertising, IBF said if this regulation was implemented, it would force many news organisations to shut down.

meenakshi.v@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 26, 2013

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