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TV ads caged. But tamed?

india Updated: Aug 03, 2006 01:26 IST

THAT LONG string of ads pushed down your throat with your favourite soap on TV may be snipped. The I&B Ministry has issued a notification limiting advertising on TV channels to 12 minutes per hour.

The July 31 notification specifies that commercial ads will have to be limited to 10 minutes, and a channel's self-promotional programmes to two minutes.

The limit on commercial ads forms part of the ministry's general notification on enforcing the Conditional Access System (CAS) from December 31 in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The rationale is that since CAS and the introduction of set-top boxes will ensure a scientifically determined revenue stream from subscribers, ads on TV should be limited to a "tolerable level".

STAR follows the 10+2 formula -- as dictated by the broadcast regulatory authority in Hong Kong from where it uplinks its channels.

However, networks like Zee Telefilms and Sony Entertainment Television load more ads, especially on successful programmes. Movie channels like Zee Cinema and MAX are the most brazen with each advertisement break running for 8-10 minutes.  Some channels are already thinking ahead.

"Entertainment channels will work their way around by slotting a popular soap with a show not doing too well in two half-hour slots. Since the 12-minute rule is for a clock hour, ads can be loaded on the popular soap," Jawahar Goel, Zee's head of cable and DTH, told HT.The notification seeks to protect consumers from being overcharged, by ensuring that the regulatory authority fixes a maximum retail price for pay channel.