Sick of having to turn the TV volume down when ads come on, and then back up when the programme proper starts again? From a viewer / consumer perspective, being virtually deafened by a sudden blast of too-loud sound when the ad break starts is very annoying, to say the least. Well, if you're in the UK, you're in luck.
Following a consultation by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) last year, from 7 July 2008 UK television advertisements will have their sound levels regulated under a change in the Broadcasting TV Advertising Standards Code rule 6.9 so that effectively they can't be objectively or subjectively louder than the average volume of the programme they're in or indeed neighbouring ads in the same ad break. The new rule:
Advertisements must not be excessively noisy or strident. The maximum subjective loudness of advertisements must be consistent and in line with the maximum loudness of programmes and junction material.
Surely sensible advertisers won't have a problem with that. Irritating your target audience can't be good marketing / advertising practice: blaring ads may well grab the attention, but not exactly in a positive way.
Yay to the change, I say! Now if only they'd also stop compressing the background music during telly programmes too. Such as the bits of CSI when they're microscoping away in the lab and the like - the background music's often too loud there, I have to turn it down and then back up again to hear the dialogue properly. I don't treat CSI as a music video substitute, if I wanted to listen to a music video I wouldn't be watching CSI. /grumble.
Seriously, if there was a gizmo to similarly regulate the sound during TV programmes (especially many American ones, where misguided attempts at supplying realistic background noise often result in the actors' speech being drowned out), I'd gladly buy one. Maybe I'm just getting old...