New Delhi: Free to Air channels may soon get relief as the Government is mulling a rule change which would allow them to show more advertisements than the present ad-cap of 12 minutes per hour.
“We are taking a decision….that Free to Air (FTA) channels should be exempt from the restriction of the 12 minutes ad-cap,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said here today.
The Minister, however, indicated that for Pay Channels the existing limit of 12 minutes per hour of advertisements would continue and suggested that the proposed rule change could become a sort of incentive for them to turn FTA.
He said that the consumer’s burden has to be reduced and, if a channel is showing “too many” advertisements then it should also be Free to Air.
Javadekar was speaking at a meeting of a task force on digitisation held here. He told reporters that the 12 minute restriction is appropriate for pay channels.
“But for FTA channels, which are providing programmes for free, is this restriction necessary for them? I don’t think this is needed. And we will soon take a decision in this regard,” he said.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has stipulated that there should be a 12 minute cap on advertisements that channels can show in an hour. However, several broadcasters have been opposing this rule.
The Govt’s move is seen as a major relief for Free to Air channels as their only revenue source is through sale of air time to the advertisers. The imposition of 12 minutes ad-cap had created an uncertainty on the future of many satellite channels. Particularly the FTA in regional markets with lesser revenue possibilities are the most affected.
The change in govt’s stance is also expected to create a major impact in the strategies of many broadcasters as they might migrate to FTA format in-order to escape the ad-cap rule.