Listen up slackers, your five hour marathons of Storage Wars and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo shall never be ruined by clamoring commercials again! Hurrah.
The Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ushered in new laws that prohibit digital broadcasters from airing commercials that are louder than regular programming.
“Starting on Sept. 1, Canadians will be able to enjoy their favourite television programs without having to adjust the volume during commercial breaks,” the broadcast regulator’s chairman, Jean-Pierre Blais, says in a statement.
The dark ages of frantically clawing your overly complicated digital remote for the soothing relief of the mute button has ended. “They are designed to ensure that you do not have to reach for the remote control when a show cuts to an advertisement,” says the CRTC in a press release.
Last year, the CRTC put forth a survey asking the general public whether they thought that the ads were too loud—7000 Canadians replied with “yes” responses.
“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,” says Konrad von Finckenstein, chairman of the CRTC at the time. “The technology exists, let’s use it.”
Alanna Williams, a VIU Media Studies prof. and Be the Media contributor, says, “I think it’s a good thing. In some ways it’s similar to a no-call list where we have regulators manage proper behavior because industries are not managing themselves. To have a broadcast station broadcast advertisements at a much louder rate to get the attention of the audience is just poor behavior.
“My suspicion is that the broadcast industry in the last few years has completely changed its model. The broadcast industry has been under assault in terms of their revenue generation. I think that their tactics have had to become more extreme because they don’t have the same numbers or attentiveness that they once did. People are getting their television content from other sources from means where they don’t have to watch commercials anyway. It appears as if they don’t really seem to get how to operate in the new paradigm.” Williams adds that a lot of people have found alternative ways of watching television that circumvent commercials such as online or by DVD box sets.
The CRTC is urging consumers to report any audio annoyances directly to the broadcaster. If the suds hawking Old Spice pitchman is still louder than your usual programming, please contact the CRTC.
However, U.S.-based programming might still contain the annoying ads. The CRTC says that the U.S. is expected to adopt the same broadcasting standards by Dec. 2012.