Rules that shush TV ads take effect today
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.