Canadian broadcasters turn down the volume on TV ads

Michelle Clancy | 02-09-2012

Canadian broadcasters have implemented volume controls so that the commercials during TV shows are no longer louder than the programming itself.

The Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) last year surveyed the Canadian population and received 7,000 complaints about the higher volume in television ads.
"Broadcasters have allowed ear-splitting ads to disturb viewers and have left us little choice but to set out clear rules that will put an end to excessively loud ads," said Konrad von Finckenstein, the head of the CRTC at the time. " Those new rules have now passed into law.
"Canadians will be able to enjoy their favourite television programs without having to adjust the volume during commercial breaks," said CRTC's Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais. "We appreciate the efforts undertaken by the broadcasting industry to conform to the new standard and ensure that programs and commercials are transmitted at a similar volume."
Loud commercials are under scrutiny in the United States too. The FCC is requiring the same from U.S. broadcasters beginning 13 December. The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act will require TV stations, cable operators, satellite TV providers or other multichannel video program distributors to apply the ATSC's standard for a set of methods to measure and control the audio loudness of digital programming.
Not every consumer will be given relief at first: the FCC has made a one-year waiver for compliance available to any TV station, cable operator or other video provider that "shows financial hardship in obtaining the equipment to comply with the new law," which often requires an infrastructure upgrade to implement.