Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Advertising Government Television

Ban On Loud TV Commercials Takes Effect Today 383

Posted by timothy
from the watch-for-workarounds dept.
netbuzz writes "A new law banning broadcasters from delivering TV commercials at a higher volume takes effect today at the end of a yearlong implementation period. Called the CALM Act, or Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, the law does provide for violators to be fined. TV commercials that crank up the volume have been the No. 1 complaint logged with the FCC over the last 10 years."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ban On Loud TV Commercials Takes Effect Today

Comments Filter:
  • Mixed feelings. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gfxguy (98788) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:37PM (#42274697)

    I don't know if I like government to get involved in regulations like these. I can't say I don't like this particular one, of course - it pisses me off when the kids are sleeping and we need to turn up the volume to hear the show, then the commercial comes on and wakes up the whole f-ing neighborhood. But I have to wonder if this is the best use of government, and if we eliminated these positions that come up with and enforce rules against things that don't violate your rights, how much money we could save?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:45PM (#42274841)

    This must mean that all those other more important problems have been solved...

    Really? You think focusing everyone employed by the federal government on one issue at a time will solve it faster? You want the communication guys focusing on the accounting issues, and the accountants focusing on the medical issues, and the doctors focusing on the energy issues?

  • Re:10 Years (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:47PM (#42274873)

    Good thing the free market fixed it long before!

  • Re:Mixed feelings. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermat1313 (927331) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:47PM (#42274875)

    I don't know if I like government to get involved in regulations like these. I can't say I don't like this particular one, of course - it pisses me off when the kids are sleeping and we need to turn up the volume to hear the show, then the commercial comes on and wakes up the whole f-ing neighborhood. But I have to wonder if this is the best use of government, and if we eliminated these positions that come up with and enforce rules against things that don't violate your rights, how much money we could save?

    I see where you are coming from, and we shouldn't need government interference here. But if government doesn't create laws like this, then the alternative is that big business sets defacto policies for us, because they hold all the cards. Your only choice as a consumer is to just turn off TVs.

    I liken this to the CAN SPAM act. Technically it's a limitation on free speech, but if the government doesn't step up to create policies that benefit consumers, who will? Trust me here, the media companies don't have our backs here. Never will.

  • Re:Mixed feelings. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by interval1066 (668936) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:47PM (#42274877) Homepage Journal
    This is EXACTLY where the government needs to step in. Stupid, annoying things like this. When I heard the ban was coming I prayed then and there on the spot and my atheist heart warmed knowing there is a God who loves and cares for us.
  • by Jetra (2622687) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:48PM (#42274899)
    It's great to know our money is going to a good cause such as making TV commercials quieter and erections last twenty hours....I honestly want to punch someone. What the hell!? How about using that money to fix our roads or our education!?
  • Re:Mixed feelings. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:52PM (#42274967)

    Your only choice as a consumer is to just turn off TVs.

    Which, BTW, is an excellent choice.

  • Re:Mixed feelings. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:53PM (#42274995) Homepage

    I look at it this way. People have complained and the market did not fix itself so now government has to step in. I'm no fan of big government either.

  • Re:I said (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Amorymeltzer (1213818) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:02PM (#42275177)

    It is just that the entire commercial is as loud as the the loudest part of the TV show while the loud point in the TV show is only for a moment or two before the volume returns to much lower normal volumes.

    That's what "louder" means. Put some averages and standard deviations in there if you like, but "peak loudness forever" is louder than "peak loudness for a brief moment." I usually drive my car around the speed limit but I went 100mph once, a car going 100mph all the time is faster than me.

  • Re:I said (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ottothecow (600101) <ottothecow@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:07PM (#42275261) Homepage
    I am pretty sure that by all reasonable measures of loudness, that counts as technically louder. If I am quietly telling you a story and in the middle of it, I make a loud clap of my hands and then continue telling you the story quietly, you would not say I am loud. The average volume is quite low. If someone walked in after my story and yelled a whole story at the volume of my clap, you would say that they were loud. For something like that, you can't just measure the peak, you have to weight it over some duration.

    Compressing the dynamic range of a commercial to make the whole thing as loud as the peak volume of the TV show counts as "technically louder" unless you are using an unreasonable measure of loudness.

    I mean, it is a shame that someone has to actually push through regulations to ban this. It's probably complicated and has all sorts of long definitions about what counts as loud (what if you were just watching a particularly quiet part of a show?)...but the advertisers have brought this burden on themselves. If they hadn't been dicks, nobody would force them to monitor the volume of their commercials.

  • by X0563511 (793323) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:34PM (#42275773) Homepage Journal

    It's not like this kind of thing isn't exactly what the FCC was put in place to do...

  • Re:Mixed feelings. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:35PM (#42275783) Homepage

    People have complained and the market did not fix itself so now government has to step in. I'm no fan of big government either.

    And when, exactly, does the 'market' ever 'fix itself'?

    This notional abstraction of the 'market' as an entity which resolves problems for the better is, well, a myth. It's missing all of the mechanisms which would cause it to self correct.

    Instead the corporations typically do what they want, and the governments have given them the ability to do it.

    The market solution which would correct this would take decades on its own, if at all. Because first you'd need viable competition to the cable companies so there was any consumer choice so they could choose a provider which didn't do this. And the barrier of entry to that is so enormous, that it won't happen. And then they'd need to either stick with the idea, or give up and decide there's more money to be had.

    As it exists, the 'market' doesn't naturally settle on an optimal outcome except for the corporations, who basically set the rules themselves. Instead, it's more like a dog which will eat all of the food until it gets sick, and then start all over again.

    This idealized entity which everyone thinks is mostly infallible is so heavily skewed and manipulated that it isn't capable of generating the outcomes ascribed to it. And, in reality, that idealized 'market' has only ever existed on paper -- there's always been corruption, collusion, cheating, bribing, self interest and other things. The consumers lack perfect information and make irrational choices. The assumptions on this perfectly even-handed entity are largely erroneous.

    Every time someone talks about the 'market' finding a solution I cringe, because the only solution it will ever come to is the one which maximizes profits by any means necessary.

    The market doesn't 'choose' to not sell baby formula with melamine in it -- it has to be told, and it's not like "over time people will simply choose to not buy baby formula with melamine in it" solves the issue.

  • Re:Mixed feelings. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:00PM (#42276299)

    True. But by not using English correctly, you put a burden on your readers. You are saying: "I'm too lazy to learn the protocol. It's your responsibility to do all the error detection/correction." -- It's just rude.

  • Re:Mixed feelings. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:08PM (#42277495) Homepage

    The problem, and the elephant in the room people refuse to look at is that all of that market theory that showed it acting as a correcting and optimizing force were predicated on a great many players in the market with buyer and seller on roughly equal terms. If there were hundreds or even tens of cable operators competing for each customer, it might begin to work, except that there isn't room in the spectrum or on the poles for that many in one place.

    None of the market theorists ever considered the case of 3 or 4 billionaire multi-nationals replacing dozens or hundreds of individuals selling in the market. It just doesn't work if the seller doesn't need the buyer as much as the buyer needs the seller.

    The market theorists also presumed near perfect information. That is, the buyer could easily know enough about the product to make a good estimate of the value being offered. That went out the window some time ago, and buyers were forced to resort to reputation rather than an examination of the goods. With 'value engineering', market segmentation and rampant re-badging, that has gone out the window as well. The result is that the consumer is left with nothing but price as a criterion for buying and the race to the bottom is on.

    You allude to the latter part with the melamine example. The consumer can't see or taste the melamine in the product. The consumer has never heard of melamine until babies start dieing.

  • by Viewsonic (584922) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:15PM (#42277611)

    And when, exactly, does the 'market' ever 'fix itself'?

    Unions are the best example I can come up with. When companies run workers into the ground, and the government wont step in, and other better companies don't appear to replace the bad ones, it's up to the workers. Unions are the defacto example of a free market regulating itself.

  • Re:Mixed feelings. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:39PM (#42278055)
    Thanks for the useless analogy that has no real bearing on the conversation. Your input is valued.

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.

Working...