TRAI Wants To Reduce TV Advertisements; But TV Channels Say TRAI Has No Authority Over Ads
Over the years, the experience of watching Indian channels on TV has become a more painful one than relaxing. At times, the length of advertisements seems to exceed the length of the content which is being broadcast. With complaints regarding the same in mind, the TRAI seems to have decided to bring some changes.
TRAI approached Delhi HC to bring a reduction in Ad lengths
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has approached the Delhi High Court (HC) to bring forward the complaints of the consumers. According to consumers, due to excessive advertisements, their TV viewing experience deteriorates. Delhi HC has sought responses from the central government and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) on the same.
It should be noted that there’s a rule that limits the length of the advertisement on TV channels. As per rule 7(11) of Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 (CTN/Cable TV Rules), none of the programs can carry advertisements that exceed 12 minutes per hour. These 12 minutes include 2 minutes per hour for a channel’s self-promotional programs and the other 10 minutes for commercial advertisements.
NBA contests TRAI’s attempt
The NBA has argued that this rule is beyond the scope of TRAI’s power and affects Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution on the freedom of speech and expression. Along with NBA, several channels have challenged that TRAI has no power to regulate the length of the advertisements.
TRAI has argued that there is a statutory mandate which limits the length of the advertisements that can be shown in an hour. TRAI has said that it has the best intentions for the consumers. This intervention from the regulator is to ensure that the TV viewing experience of the consumers doesn’t deteriorate.
Notably, the Delhi HC has bundled the NBA’s petition with the ones which are already pending. The court has asked it and the Centre to respond to the regulator’s intervention application. The case has been moved to December 23 for now.
If TRAI succeeds in bringing some real change, then it would change the TV watching experience of thousands of viewers.