The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has directed TV broadcasters to start implementing from today its Quality of Service (QoS) regulation, imposing a 10+2 minutes per hour cap on advertising by non-news channels, as the extended deadline for this ended on Monday.
However there is some confusion about the issue, as some broadcasters have appealed to Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against it.
However, PTI cited sources in TRAI to say the law pertaining to ad cap has not been stayed by TDSAT, and hence it would be implemented.
As per the regulation, channels will have to submit a weekly report on the quantum of ads shown every hour.
As a result, while some bigger general entertainment channels are set to move to the 12-minute ad cap rule from Tuesday, others, especially some news and music channels, said they will not implement the directive now.
The News Broadcasters Association (NBA), which represents news channels, had got some relief on 30 August when TDSAT directed that "till further orders, the TRAI shall not take any coercive measures against the appellants or its members to make them abide by the impugned regulations".
TRAI had first outlined the ad caps in May 2012 (See: TRAI slaps 12 minutes per hour cap on TV ads).
The Indian Broadcasting Federation too had approached the TDSAT on the matter, but later withdrew its petition on 11 September, though one its members has approached the tribunal independently.
Despite an assurance given to the TRAI by the IBF to bring down the ad content to 12 minutes per hour, many broadcasters are uncomfortable with implementing the ad cap. Many others, however, have already brought down the quantum of ads as per the requirement.
The directive kicks in at a time when the festive season is soon to begin, and advertisers are gearing up to roll out campaigns. Some big broadcasters have already indicated that they will be increasing ad rates to make up for lost revenues due to the cap. But this will not go down well with advertisers.