New Delhi : Postponement of the hearing of the 12 mins ad-cap case to September 25, 2014 has created a 70 days respite for the broadcasters.
The case scheduled for hearing today was adjourned as the Delhi High Court was dealing with a big number of cases today and faced a time constraint. Moreover, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory of India) is also yet to file its rejoined for the case.
To ensure better quality of TV watching experience for the consumer, TRAI notified the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulation in March 2013, capping duration of commercial time on television channels.
The regulations restrict maximum duration of advertisements to 12 minutes per content hour and allow advertisements only during breaks of live sporting events, prohibit partial advertisements and require broadcasters to submit details of advertisements carried on their channels in a specified format to TRAI.
This was considered as a bitter pill for many broadcasters who are facing subdued ad revenue growth on account of the poor economic environment and Many channels which are surviving on cheap ad rates by increasing the advertisement duration and reduced content duration are facing an abruptly closing situation.
After a series of discussions and MIB’s support of a less aggressive timeline for reduction of advertising minutes, in line with the digitisation schedule, the regulator agreed to give broadcasters more time.
A new ad limit per hour was decided upon, which permitted 20 minutes of ad time for news channels and 16 minutes of ad time for others till 30 September 2013, following which the 12 minute ad-cap would take effect on all channels.
Most members of the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) with some exceptions implemented the ad-cap regulation from October 1st 2013. Hindi GECs with an existing ad inventory of 14-16 minutes per hour seemed relatively unaffected with the TRAI order and many of the channels announced that they would make up for the inventory reduction by hiking the 10 second ad rates by 20-30 per cent.
However, many broadcasters who are facing the immediate survival threat had openly defied the TRAI’s rule and approached the court and obtained a stay. The fate of all those who defied the TRAI’s rule will be based on the courts verdict on the final hearing on 25th September 2014, soon other broadcasters who were obeying the TRAI’s rule also took the advantage by joining themselves as a party to the case and exploiting the benefit of the interim stay. Hence, 25th September will be a judgement day for many Broadcasters.