Rules that shush TV ads take ef­fect to­day

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE -

OT­TAWA — Cana­dian couch pota­toes, take heart: your days of lung­ing for the re­mote to si­lence a blar­ing TV com­mer­cial may soon be an end.

New CRTC rules that go into ef­fect Satur­day re­quire dig­i­tal broad­cast­ers to en­sure that tele­vi­sion pro­grams and the ads that break them up all come in at the same vol­ume level.

Ag­gra­vat­ingly loud TV com­mer­cials have been a con­sumer buga­boo in Canada for years.

Last year, the Cana­dian Ra­dio-tele­vi­sion and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com- mis­sion got some 7,000 “Yes” re­sponses when they asked view­ers if they thought the ads were too loud.

The reg­u­la­tor called it an un­usu­ally high re­sponse to a re­quest for com­ment, one that was 10 times higher than the num­ber of com­plaints it had re­ceived in the pre­vi­ous three years com­bined.

The agency pro­duced draft rules last De­cem­ber and gave broad­cast­ers time to re­spond. In May, it said Septem­ber would be the dead­line to muz­zle the com­mer­cials.

The com­mis­sion says a 2009 in­ter- na­tional stan­dard for mea­sur­ing and con­trol­ling tele­vi­sion sig­nals will ap­ply in or­der to min­i­mize fluc­tu­a­tions in loud­ness be­tween pro­gram­ming and com­mer­cials.

“They are de­signed to en­sure that you do not have to reach for the re­mote con­trol when a show cuts to an ad­ver­tise­ment,” the com­mis­sion said in a news re­lease.

“Broad­cast­ers are also re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the vol­ume of the pro­grams them­selves, to en­sure that both pro­grams and ad­ver­tise­ments are trans­mit­ted at a rel­a­tively even vol­ume.”

The new stan­dard ap­plies only to dig­i­tal sig­nals. Un­der sep­a­rate or­ders from the CRTC, most broad­cast­ers have aban­doned over-the-air ana­log broad­cast­ing in Cana­dian mar­kets.

Con­sumers are also be­ing urged to com­plain di­rectly to broad­cast­ers if they still be­lieve ads are too loud, and to contact the CRTC if the prob­lem per­sists.

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