CRTC moves to control loud television ads

MUMBAI: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications, has laid down new rules requiring Canadian broadcasters and broadcasting distributors to control the loudness of television commercials.

The new rules, which came into force 1 September, applies only to digital television services and not to analog services.
Viewers who believe that a commercial was broadcast at an excessively loud volume should first contact the broadcaster or television service provider about their concerns and attempt to resolve the complaint directly; and if the concerns are not addressed to their satisfaction, viewers may then submit a complaint to the CRTC via its website or by other means listed on the website.

"Starting on September 1, Canadians will be able to enjoy their favourite television programs without having to adjust the volume during commercial breaks," said CRTC 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."

The broadcasters and television service providers must adhere to an objective international standard for measuring and controlling television signals. It is important to note, however, that loudness is a perception that is dependent on a number of factors, including the nature and content of the audio material. Some frequencies are perceived to be soothing, while others are more irritating to the human ear, the CRTC noted.

As a result, a commercial can be broadcast at a similar volume, or audio level, as the program that preceded it but perceived to be of different loudness, it added.

The CRTC also pointed out that the United States will adopt the same international standard by the end of the year. Until then, viewers watching the over-the-air signals of American television stations may be exposed to excessively loud ads.

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