New CRTC rules regulating TV commercials volume now in effect
Loud TV commercials
In the past, when you were watching TV and a commercial message was broadcast at a higher volume than the preceding program, it could really startle you. To prevent this, the CRTC requires broadcasters to follow rules aimed at ensuring that television programming and commercials are broadcast at a similar volume.
What do the rules do?
Effective September 1, 2012, Canadian broadcasters and television service providers (e.g., cable, satellite, and IPTV providers) must follow international standards for measuring and controlling digital television signals, and must ensure that TV commercials are broadcast at a similar volume to programs. The standards apply to digital television services only. They are designed to ensure that you do not have to reach for the remote control when a show cuts to an advertisement. 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.
What about other factors?
Of course, the perception of loudness is based on many factors. It’s not just the volume, but the nature and content of the audio that play a role. What’s more, some sounds seem soothing, while others are irritating. So even a commercial broadcast at a similar volume to the program that precedes it can be perceived to be of different loudness. The following video demonstrates how loudness can be perceived differently.