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India’s TV ad cap comes into force

The time allowed for advertising on Indian television is now 20 minutes per hour for news channels and 16 minutes per hour for general entertainment channels, after the regulator’s new cap came into force on 1 July.

This latest rule is the forerunner to the introduction of a 12-minute maximum of advertising per hour on Indian TVs come 1 October, and follows the previous agreement between broadcasters and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) which set a maximum of 30 minutes of advertising an hour from 29 May 2013.

Members of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) are said to be following the new regime. However, TRAI’s principal advisor on broadcasting and media, N Parameswaran, warns the regulator will continue to monitor the timing of commercials each hour across all channels.

With advertising revenues lessening as a result of the new cap, broadcasters are expected to increase their rates to limit the shortfall. Advertisers could, however, benefit if they target their audiences in a more effective way, suggest some industry commenters, who also paint a positive picture of India’s digitisation programme in reducing the broadcasters’ dependence on advertising revenue.

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