TRAI’s Quantitative Advertisement Regulation: Ensuring a Quality Viewing Experience or Regulatory Overreach?
Sohini Chatterjee & Gauri Pillai*
Volume 7 Issue 2 (2014)
On March 22, 2013, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India released the Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) (Amendment) Regulations, 2013, which mandates that broadcasters restrict advertisements on television channels to a maximum of twelve minutes per clock hour. While the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the News Broadcasters Association vehemently oppose this measure as a draconian step that will adversely impact revenues and violate broadcasters’ freedoms of speech and business, the TRAI argues that the duration of advertisements is inversely proportional to the quality of the viewing experience, and that the measure is necessary to protect consumer interest. This paper analyses the debate surrounding the Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) (Amendment) Regulations, 2013, as a measure for advertising regulation. It examines the TRAI’s role as regulator and evaluates the legal and economic arguments for and against the measure.