Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hearing is believing

There are few things as satisfying as vindication. To say something but to have no proof, nor any way of proving it, is annoying, even when other people agree with you. When that proof finally arrives, there’s almost a sense of relief about it.

There are a lot of people who will be feeling that now.

For a long, long time, people have talked about how TV commercials in New Zealand are louder than the programmes. It’s annoying and it’s obvious to everyone, but the networks consistently denied that was the case. In other words, they were telling us it was all our imagination.

The New Zealand Herald has done what needed to be done and commissioned tests of the loudness of TV commercials. Surprise, surprise, the results found that commercials are louder—ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent louder than the TV programme they were interrupting.

The networks weren’t too keen on talking about the results, and mainly continue to say that commercials fall within allowed limits. They then descend into techno-babble about how the commercials aren’t really louder. The study, however, proves the truth.

Consumer advocates are demanding regulation to end the blaring ads, much as Britain is introducing limits. We either need that or for the networks to accept some responsibility for what they broadcast. In the meantime, I’ll do what I’ve done for a long time and hit the “mute” button when the ads come on, which means I won’t hear the advertiser’s message at all, regardless of the volume.

In any case, it’s nice we were finally proven right.


d said...

We hit "mute" too (unless it's a commercial we like - there are a few!).

I thought it was an unwritten rule around the world that commercials were louder than TV programs? In the US, I made sure to buy Magnovox TVs because they come with "smart sound" - the TV automatically regulates the sound of programs and commercials so that it's even.

Couldn't find that here, though. =(

Arthur Schenck said...

I noticed just yesterday how loud the commercials are, dspite the recent bad publicity. Sky is among the worst offenders with their endless self-promotion commercials on their own channels. I'm forever scrambling for the remote.

The worst part (for the broadcasters' advertisers) is that I don't hear any ads once I hit mute, even the few broadcast at reasonable volume. Tough.

While there are, from time to time, ads I like, the screaming ear-shattering ads are so dominant that I play fewer ads un-muted, so fewer ads have a chance to become ones that I like.