New Delhi: In a major relief to Free-to-air (FTA) channels which were facing uncertainty due to the implementation of 12-minutes ad cap by the regulators, the I&B ministry has initiated the necessary steps to exempt the FTA channels from the 12-minute ad cap regulation.
The announcement is considered as a shot in the arm for FTA channel owners, as they can continue airing commercials in excess of 12 mins per hour of program telecast.
The move is also likely to put an end to the on-going legal battle in Delhi High due change of stand in government’s policy. The court has offered an interim relief to the channels and the case was posted for a hearing in Mid November.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said that the process of exempting FTA channels from the terms of the 12-minute ad cap regulation has begun and the government will soon make an announcement regarding the same.
“The process has been initiated. We have taken a decision and we have also taken this up with the law department. It is under process and we will make an announcement soon. We are committed to that,” Javadekar said,
In order to implement the policy change the government need to carry out necessary changes in the Cable TV Network Rules (CTNR) 1994, with a due amendment notification to law ministry to initiate further process of law to implement the exemption in an appropriate manner.
Earlier Mr. Javadekar said that the ad cap rule on FTA was unfair as their only source of income is ad revenue. However the I&B minister had supported the ad cap for pay channels, contending that they should not show too many ads when they are enjoying subscription revenue from the subscriber.
Ever since the implementation of 12 mins ad cap, there had been a huge turmoil in the Indian Broadcasting Industry over the future of the broadcasting business due to un-viability issues.
It created major ripples among Regional broadcasters who are standalone operators without a network package, new channels and sports channels as their style of selling air time varies from GEC pattern.