Awash in advertising

A monitoring of advertisements appearing on news channels shows that adhering to the TRAI's 12 minutes per hour limit will be tough for the Hindi news channels.
A HOOT special report. Research by MANU MOUDGIL and MONAZIR ALAM

The television industry has reacted sharply to recent moves by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to curb what it perceives as runaway advertising on TV channels. TRAI notified on March 22 its latest regulation with regard to advertising on TV channels called the Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) (Amendment) Regulations, 2013. It specified that advertisements needed to be restricted to “twelve minutes in a clock hour,” and that includes two minutes of channel promotion.

It also gave itself the power to intervene  “for the purpose of protecting the interests of the subscribers or for ensuring compliance of the provisions of these regulations.“  The regulator’s edict also requires broadcasters to report after every quarter just how much advertising it has carried.
Response from the industry was prompt and sharp. The next day the News Broadcaster’s Association issued a statement expressing “deep shock and concern” and dubbed the regulation issued as “sweeping and intrusive controls.” It added for good measure that these were violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India, which entitles a citizen to inter-alia carry-on any trade or business.
The body said that these regulations have been issued at a time when news channels are facing a most unfriendly business environment. “Dependence on advertising remains absolute with over 90 percent of revenues coming from it. The economic slowdown of 2008 has not been corrected even today and advertising has been slow and at unimaginably low rates. Despite Phase-1 of digitisation being implemented w.e.f. 1st November 2012, the benefits have not yet accrued to broadcasters, particularly news broadcasters. Carriage fees continue to be high and most news broadcasters do not get subscription revenues. Over the last year or so, news organisations have not received any advertising from DAVP, which has cut rates to levels 75 percent lower than they were even 5 years ago. All of these factors have ensured that most news channel companies face losses on an annual basis.”
It added, NBA believes that in the garb of “regulation of advertisements”, TRAI has imposed severe restrictions which amount to “control of content which is anathema to our constitutional scheme.”
The Hoot measured the number of advertising minutes carried by TV news channels in major bulletins. The monitoring was carried out the week before TRAI announced its amended regulation. It found that every Hindi news channel exceeded the number of minutes specified quite substantially, with the exception of the Hindi bulletin of Doordarshan. On three of the six days monitored on NDTV India  the advertising quantum exceeded fifty per cent of programme time.
The English channels tended to exceed 12 minutes of advertising per hour in their weekend programming. They command higher advertisement rates than the Hindi new channels. The rates that the latter command is as the NBA has pointed out, very low at some parts of day time, not more than a few thousand rupees per ten seconds. So prime time is when you can make good.


Ad and promo slots :11th to 16th March, 2013

March 11
March 12
March 13
ABP News
9.00-10.00 PM
Ad - 19 min 10 sec
Channel promo - 19 sec
Ad - 28 min
Channel Promo - 1 min 12 sec
Ad - 19 min 22 sec
Channel promo - 38 sec
Aaj Tak
9.00-10.00 PM
Ad - 20 min 56 sec
Promo of India Today conclave- 30 sec
Ad – 21 min 46 sec
Channel Promo – 13 sec
Ad- 17 min 7 sec
Promo of India Today conclave- 30 sec
NDTV India
8.00-9.00 PM
Ad - 30 min 10 sec
Ad- 31 min 37 sec
Channel Promo – 1 min 12 sec
Ad - 31 min 49 sec
Channel promo - 1 min 13 sec
DD News Hindi
8.00-9.00 PM
AD - 9 min 46 sec
Ad – 11 min 47 sec
Channel Promo – 2 min 6 sec
Ad - 10 min 23 sec
NDTV 24x7
9.00-10.00 PM
Ad- 11 min 40 sec
Ad – 7 min 18 sec
Channel Promo – 45 sec
Ad – 7 min 30 sec
9.00-10.00 PM
Ad - 10 min 44 sec Channel promo -  8 sec
Ad – 9 min 44 sec
Channel Promo – 16 sec
Ad - 6 min 54 sec
Channel promo -  21 sec
Times Now
8.30-9.30 PM
Ad – 22 min 48 sec
Channel Promo – 2 min 9 sec
Ad – 7 min 50  sec
Channel Promo – 40 sec
Ad- 8 min 49 sec
Channel Promo - 1 min 7 sec
DD News English
9.00-10.00 PM
Ad - 10 min 4 sec
Ad – 12 min 51 sec
Channel Promo – 31 sec
Ad - 8 min 44 sec

March 14
March 15
March 16
ABP News
9.00-10.00 PM
Ad – 25 min 30 sec
Channel Promo – 1 min 15 sec
Ad - 27 min 58 sec
Channel promo -57 sec
Ad – 24 min 51 sec
Channel Promo – 1 min 10 sec
Aaj Tak
9.00-10.00 PM
Ad- 22 min 39 sec
Channel Promo - 35 sec
India Today Conclave
 Promo – 3 min 51 sec
Ad - 17 min 37 sec
Channel promo - 11 sec
Live Telecast of  Mr. Narendre Modi Speech at India Today Conclave
(No Ad - No Promo)
NDTV India
8.00-9.00 PM
Ad – 31 min 8 sec
Channel Promo – 1 min 6 sec
Ad - 27 min 56 sec
Ad- 25 min 17 sec
Channel Promo – 29 sec
DD News Hindi
8.00-9.00 PM
Ad – 12 min 13 sec
Promo – 2 min 8 sec
Ad 9 min 18 sec
Ad – 12 min 58 sec
Channel Promo – 2 min 23 sec
NDTV 24x7
9.00-10.00 PM
Ad – 10 min 15 sec
Channel Promo – 46 sec
Ad - 12 min 3 sec
Ad – 13 min 38 sec
Channel Promo – 1 min 8 sec
9.00-10.00 PM
Ad – 8 min 21 sec
Channel Promo – 1 min 32 sec
Ad - 9 min 58 sec
Channel promo - 1 min 6 sec
Ad – 21 min 55 sec
Channel Promo – 1 min 1 sec
Times Now
8.30-9.30 PM
Ad – 12 min 35 sec
Channel Promo 52 sec
Ad - 16 min 24 sec
Channel promo -  51 sec
Ad – 28 min 26 sec
Channel Promo – 21 sec
DD News English
9.00-10.00 PM
Ad – 9 min 55 sec
Channel Promo – 44 sec
Ad - 6 min 31 sec
Ad – 12 min 37 sec
Channel Promo – 3 min 3 sec



The English new channel Times Now shows more variation over the six days than other English news channels.  In the first half hour of recording, 8.30 to 9 pm it has all the advertising packed in, during the flagship show Newshour, there is almost none. On days when there is a special programme at 8.30 pm the advertising component goes down.



Subscribe To The Newsletter

The Hindu  reports that  writer S Hareesh has withdrawn his novel Meesha which was being serialised in Mathrubhumi Weekly after threats from organisations of the Sangh Parivar. They also vandalised an exhibition organised by Mathrubhumi books in Kochi in protest. They found portions of a dialogue between two characters in the novel objectionable. The Mathrubhumi Weekly editor tweeted that literature was being mob lynched.                                

ET reports that the Congress party will  have a hyperlocal social media strategy for the forthcoming state elections. It says the Congress social media cell has "identified block level social media warriors" who will give feedback on community level issues to the party's social media  war room. Such as which local temples  with a particular caste following the Congress state unit chief should visit, or in which areas farm loan waiver schemes are going badly, giving the Congress an issue to raise.                    
View More