Indians to challenge cap of advertisements at 12 minutes per hour

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued a notification in May that restricted advertisements to 12 minutes per hour. This included advertisements on the channels' in-house promotions. Whilst the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994 prescribes the same advertising limit, TRAI notification was far more restrictive, also banning drop-down advertisements as well as those that occupy a part of the screen.

Bharat Patel, Chairman of the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) said that the ISA as well as the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) are against this notification. ISA's position is that these "new regulations may end up helping a few media channels charging exorbitantly for ads and might create entry barriers for the newcomers into the media, thus stifling new investments, variety of content and viewer choices."

In addition, the broadcast associations, i.e. the Indian Broadcast Federation (IBF) and New Broadcasters Association (NBA) are also opposed to this. Patel also said that the ISA/IBF/NBA/AAAI are jointly working on representation to the (new) TRAI Chairman, to the Information & Broadcasting Minister who has different rules on the same in the Cable TV Act, and are also considering challenging the regulation in court. For more information on what is being done to counter this notification, please contact the ISA at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

Key points of the notification:

  • Advertisements shall not exceed twelve minutes per hour, and any shortfall of advertisement in the hour cannot be carried over.
  • These twelve minutes include advertisement promoting the channel(s) of the broadcaster.
  • There can be only full-screen advertisements and there shall be no part-screen or drop-down advertisement.
  • In case of live broadcast of a sporting event, the advertisements shall be carried only during the breaks in the sporting action.
  • The time gap between end of one advertisement session and the commencement of next advertisement session shall not be less than fifteen minutes.
  • The audio level of the advertisements carried in its channel shall not be higher than the audio level of the programs being broadcast in that channel.