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30 pay news channels did not comply with 12-minute ad cap rule in Dec–Mar: TRAI

MUMBAI: Thirty pay news channels did not comply with the 12-minute ad cap rule in the quarter ended 27 March, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has said.

NDTV India topped the list of Hindi news channels which at 20.67 minutes consumed the highest amount of advertisement time per clock hour during primetime between 7 pm and 10 pm. It was followed by peers like Zee News, Dilli Aaj Tak, IBN7, Aaj Tak and Tez. These channels on average aired between 14.07 and 18.90 minutes of ad in a clock hour between 7 pm and 10 pm.

Twelve national news channels in Hindi and English breached the 12-minute mark during the 7 pm–10 pm peak hours, according to data provided by TRAI for the period between 28 December 2015 and 27 March 2016.

Among the English news channels, CNN-News18 (earlier CNN-IBN), India Today TV and Times Now aired more than 12 minutes of ads in a clock hour. Times Now was on the borderline with 12.15 minutes of ad duration. NDTV 24×7 was the notable exception from the list of violators.

National news channels 27_May_2016

Among the regional news channels, ETV Rajasthan was the main culprit, data provided by the pay TV news broadcasters to TRAI showed.

Four of the 18 regional news channels aired more than 20 minutes of ads in a clock hour with ETV Rajasthan airing almost 25 minutes of ads during primetime. Apart from ETV Rajasthan, the other channels to be in this zone were 24 Ghanta, ETV UP and ETV Bihar.

Regional news channels 27_May_2016

Incidentally, most of the pay regional news channels were either from TV18 or Zee Media. ABP News Network’s ABP Majha and ABP Ananda were also found airing more than 12 minutes of ads.

Six regional news channels, namely Zee Kalinga, ETV News Gujarati, ZEE Kannada, ETV AP, ZEE MP Chhattisgarh and ETV News Kannada, aired just over 12 minutes of ads. Only Zee Kalinga and ETV News Gujarati were close to the 12-minute threshold.

The information is based on data submitted by the broadcasters and TRAI says it bears no responsibility for correctness of the same. The authority has provided ad duration data only for pay news channels.

TRAI said that the rest of the pay news channels carried less than 12 minutes of average duration per hour of advertisements.

The ad cap case is sub judice with the matter getting adjourned repeatedly in the Delhi High Court. News, music, regional and niche channels have secured interim relief from the HC against any coercive action by TRAI for not following the ad cap rule.

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