Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ad Nauseam

Stop Illegal Advertising!
 In my post ‘TV Pop-Up Ads: Fraudulent Invasion of Privacy’ on January 4, this is what I wrote:
“...TV channels must be free to make money during their commercial breaks. No one would grudge that. However, they should not be allowed to make money on your time. That’s the time you are paying for. Viewers should start sending complaints to the Ministry of I&B to ban this fraudulent and invasive practice. I have doubts if Ambika Soni is ignorant of these malpractices. In the US the increasing of sound volume during commercial breaks by TV channels is banned. Scrolling commercial ads, pop-up ads or button-banner ads that invade you during programs you paid to watch should also be banned”

It appears the illegal practice is far worse than it appears. A watchful reader (Georges) wrote to me about the legal time limit specified for advertising on TV channels. According to reports the maximum time allowed for commercial advertisements is 12 minutes for one hour of programming. There can be hardly any channel that is not violating this norm gleefully. This is particularly alarming in case of news channels which are supposedly the watchdogs. Greed and absolute greed is the only driving force behind our media. TDSAT (Telecom Disputes and Settlement Appellate Tribunal) had sent a notice to the I&B Ministry in January 2011 seeking an explanation on this violation of Cable Television Rules.

The Tribunal's direction came over the plea of an NGO 'Utsarg', alleging violation by all leading broadcasting houses and channels by exceeding the limits of the commercial timing in their TV programmes.  (Business Standard). Much of the issues raised in my post on January 4 have also been covered in the petition by this NGO. And rightly so. It is time to protect the rights of the viewers.

The I&B ministry recently finalised new rules and guidelines that will become laws for the print media and are framing more laws for the digital media as well. Laws apart the ministry doesn’t really seem interested in enforcing any of these laws. Don’t be surprised if the next scam comes out from the very ministry that is supposed to regulate the media. Some ministries like Home, Finance, Telecom, Aviation are flamboyant by nature. The I&B ministry may not be that flamboyant but it certainly holds the same potential to generate as many scams as the others. Don’t wish for it!

TVS Wego - Mental Imbalance!
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is a toothless organisation governed by corporate advertisers and agencies themselves. Thus, bad advertisements will continue to spam your TV channels endlessly. The new TVS Wego campaign is one such exercise. Some young females dancing or doing aerobics on two wheelers without helmets is not exactly a great model for your kids. All this is supposed to indicate ‘body balance’ of the vehicle. Sure, body balance supported by ‘mental imbalance’! Of course, don’t forget our advertisers simply love criminals. Salman Khan was dropped by CocaCola after the court conviction for killing protected animals and for the drunken hit and run incident. He should be in jail but he is happily in your face everyday doing dangerous stunts for a Pepsi brand. Far from expecting any ethical practices from advertisers and TV channels the least we can expect the regulators to do is to enforce basic laws and rules. The 12 minute commercial ad limit per hour must be enforced. The entertainment channels can pass off these ads. Why should news channels support such advertising?

Whether its body balance or mental imbalance, it sure is Ad nauseam!


  1. HBO which is practically commercial free elsewhere, has tons of ads running between movies.

    I think we Indian are the only fools who pays to watch ads.

    PS: about the Libya Thingy, did i not warned you about the possible American backed invasion in not so long ago comment.
    It just happened today. :)

  2. Madhusudan ThakkarMarch 21, 2011 8:34 AM

    Hindi news channels like Aaj Tak,Star News and India TV are violating this norms blatantly.

  3. Most of the channels are run by immoral people. they keep the commercial volumes louder then the programming content. There has to be a law to stop this practice too.


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