Sanity comes to Indian TV; ads restricted to 12 minutes per hour
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Sanity comes to Indian TV; ads restricted to 12 minutes per hour

Trai is introducing new rules (or curbs) on advertisements during television shows. No more than 12 minutes of ads per hour. This might sound bad for the advertisers and TV channels but it could prove to be a good thing.

Watching television has turned from being a pleasure to a chore. Programming might get the most of the blame and bad programming is made worse by the advertisements that pop up for no real reason. Watching cricket or the latest Bollywood blockbuster, one should develop a taste for advertisements, to watch them over and over.

Trai has made several other rules (and they are good by the way):

  1. 12 minutes of ads per hour (of the clock). No carryover of the left-over minutes from the previous hour.
  2. Only full-screen ads
  3. No pop-up ads and using the edges of the screen during the actual telecast.
  4. No shouting : The audio levels of the advertisement should not be greater than the audio levels of the programme the advertisment is being used on.
  5. During sporting events live telecast, the ads should be shown only during the breaks.

As you see, these are the exact things wrong about Indian television. Irrespective of what screen size your TV is, it always ends up being a circus of advertisements. I have seen matches where the penultimate ball of a regular over is cut off to tell me how effective a new pain reliever really is.

Advertisers could benefit from the renewed focus. There is a likelihood of developing brand aversion if an ad keeps popping up and ruining the most important moments of watching TV. If there is a slot and there is limit, the repetition would be kept to a minimum and probably audience will pay attention. That’s the point of advertising anyway.

Instead of watching a cricket match or a movie between advertisements, we will now watch advertisements during a movie or a match.

A two-and-a-half hour Indian movie usually takes more than four hours to complete. As per the new regulation, it should be done in 3 hours. That should be your new check whenever these rules become effective.

I hope the new rules become effective before Olympics. If not, our channels would pull in the ads even before Usain Bolt has crossed the line.