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New Standard for TV Commercial Volume

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Way back in October 2003 a message was posted in our forum asking why TV commercials seem louder than regular programming. It's a complicated situation and comments in the thread over the last six years have helped explain how it works and why it's taking so long to get anything done about it.

While I'm not getting too excited just yet, it is encouraging to see the International Telecommunication Union propose a technical standard on commercial volume limits. Essentially they have suggested a standard 'loudness meter' that helps define what is largely a subjective measurement (loudness cannot simply be measured in terms of volume or electrical signal strength).

Here in New Zealand there is some cause for optimism:

Television New Zealand technology manager Peter Ennis says it is hard to define an objective standard for loudness, which is subjective. The ITU has been working on the problem for eight years and its endorsement of a standard is a breakthrough, he says. TVNZ is highly likely to adopt it, and will be talking to other broadcasters.
I expect that broadcasters will generally be receptive. Loud ads are unpopular but currently broadcasters have little choice but to show them. The new standard is likely to be as much of a headache cure for them as it is for consumers. Here's hoping.

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