Parl panel asks MIB to act against excessive ads on TV channels

MUMBAI: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology (IT) has asked the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) to regulate the duration of ads aired by TV channels in order to protect the consumer interest.

The committee has made this suggestion despite being aware of the fact that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) ad regulation, which limits the duration of ads in a programme to 12 minutes per clock hour, is currently sub judice.

The committee headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur noted that both the free to air (FTA) as well as the pay channels are having a free run subjecting consumers to the frequent long dose of ads during a programme.

“The committee recommends that steps must be taken to regulate the permissible duration and frequency of advertisements during a programme to ensure that in order to maximise their advertisement revenue, broadcasters do not force the viewers to bear repetitive slots of advertisement in quick succession without any check whatsoever,” the committee said in its 44th report.

It also asked the MIB to ensure that ads being run in scroll/ticker should not cover more than 10% of the TV screen space and also not spoil the aesthetic sense of the programmes being telecast.

It also stated that there should not be any vertical display (running or static) of an ad on TV screen by any TV channel.

The committee hoped that the ministry will initiate necessary steps in this direction and apprise it of the action taken in this regard.

The committee further noted that while TV subscription revenue has increased from Rs. 329 billion in 2011 to Rs. 588.3 billion in 2016, advertising revenue has also increased from Rs. 116 billion in 2011 to Rs. 201.2 billion in 2016 and therefore the percentage of advertisement revenue of the TV industry as per Industry Report has remained static in the range of 33-35% of the total revenue of TV industry.

“As such, there is no noticeable shift from advertising revenue to subscription revenue in the post digitisation era. Further, no more Ad free channels have been reported by Broadcasters after 2012,” it added.

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