Ear Relief: CRTC Wants Your Opinion To Stifle Loud TV Ads

by Gaurav Kheterpal on February 22, 2011

If you always wondered why the volume on your television set blares during commercial breaks, it’s not your fault. TV Stations and broadcasters often defend themselves by saying the commercials are no louder than any of the other programming we broadcast — they just sound louder. Yeah right!

It seems CRTC had enough of TV pitchmen puncturing your eardrums with commercials that are annoyingly loud or shrill. The regulatory body is now seeking your opinion on possible regulations to limit the volume of television commercials so that they are not louder than the programs they accompany.

Though some believe that CRTC has other more important things to worry about, the general consensus is – it’s high time to put an end to this non-sense. Of course, whether the CRTC can work with the broadcasting industry to find an acceptable solution remains to be seen.

Last week, Conservative MP Nina Grewal tabled a private member’s bill to enforce broadcasters to adhere to strict rules which ensure volumes match between commercials and the accompanying programming. The CRTC has been under pressure to act on this issue after it received more than 600 complaints from disgruntled Canadian TV viewers in the last three years.

Though CRTC is urging users to viewers to share their recommendations to amicably resolve the issue, its website actually defends the theory that these commercials “sound” louder because of several reasons including differences in production techniques, audio compression levels and frequencies designed to grab attention. So, is this consultation program an eyewash while the regulator sides with the broadcaster lobby? I, for one, hope that’s not the case.

Perhaps, it’s a good case for lessons to be learned from across the border. Last year, the U.S. Congress approved a legislation to turn down the volume on loud television commercials, an annoyance that has generated millions of consumer complaints to the FCC. Several other “developed” countries including Britain already have a zero-tolerance policy for loud commercials. Conservative MP Nina Grewal says Canada should have done “something about it” 50 years back. While that sounds an overkill, I strongly believe now’s a good time as ever to have peace in the house.

In 2009, the Advanced Television Systems Committee recommended that its members establish a target volume, which gave the CRTC a push to investigate potential regulations. CRTC says it isn’t sure on how long it would take to implement changes. You have until April 18 to voice your opinion about the issue by filling out an online form on the CRTC website or to mailing a letter to its office in Quebec.

I agree that TV ads will invariably have a mix of audio levels – soft parts and nuance, that’s used to build the dramatic effect and grab viewer’s attention. However, do broadcasters have a right to telecast unacceptably loud and often excruciatingly strident TV commercials in the name of “perceived loudness”? I don’t think so.

I’d day – Let there be peace. After all, Television is no longer the Idiot Box. Your thoughts are welcome.

Did you like this post ? TheTelecomBlog.com publishes daily news, editorial, thoughts, and controversial opinion – you can subscribe by: RSS (click here), or email (click here).

Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

{ 1 trackback }

Stop Trying to Sell me Shit While I’m on Hold. « Drown That Puppy!
July 25, 2011 at 11:58 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Melvyn Donald February 26, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I am tired of the loud advertising on T V I am continualy raising & lowering the
volume on my TV because of the loud ads.

Fuzz April 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I find the loud commercials very annoying. I have to mute the TV or my wife shuts the TV off.

Mike May 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Is it really such a big deal? In a world where people starve to death every day, isn’t it a bit ridiculous to complain that commercials are too loud? If that’s a big problem in you life, than you have it pretty easy.

LaVerne Lewis August 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Advertisers are on the wrong track by thinking they can draw attention by juicing up the dB levels. Truth is we sit in front of the t.v. holding the remote so we can quickly hit the mute button when commercials blast on.

Previous post:

Next post: