The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday capped the duration of advertisements on television at 12 minutes per hour. This reverses its recommendation in March this year to halve ad duration to six minutes per hour on TV channels.
The regulatory body also held that any shortfall in ad duration in a clock hour cannot be carried over by the broadcaster. The regulations are part of an order termed 'Standards of Quality of Service Regulations 2012'. Also, ad breaks during live broadcast of sporting events have to coincide with breaks in the sporting action, says Trai.
The minimum time gap between consecutive ad breaks is 15 minutes, except in movie channels, where it has to be 30 minutes. Broadcasters can also only display full-screen ads on television. Part-screen or drop-down ads will not be permitted, the regulator said. Besides, the audio levels of advertisements on a channel should not be higher than those of the programmes being telecast.
In a separate ruling on the quality of service and grievance redressal mechanisms in Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems, Trai mandated Multi-System Operators (MSOs) not to demand any placement fee from broadcasters. The regulator said MSOs must, in the Reference Interconnect Offer filed with the authority, disclose the basis on which it is charging carriage fees from broadcasters. The MSO must additionally carry a channel in the same genre as has been indicated by the broadcaster.
To enhance consumer convenience, the regulator said all cable operators must provide subscribers a form and manual containing information about the details of the service being offered. Either party has to give a notice period of 15 days for termination of services. Additionally, MSOs have to set up a toll-free customer care centre for redressal of complaints and processing consumer requests. Every MSO or his linked local cable operator must also establish a web-based complaint monitoring system to enable the consumers to monitor the status of their complaints. And, xonsumer complaints should be addressed within eight hours by cable operators, Trai said.