Friday, October 01, 2010

Are you listening, Sky TV?

The title of this post is rhetorical, of course, because Sky Television won’t be listening: They’ve gone deaf from blaring their commercials as loudly as possible.

Mind you, Sky isn’t alone—all the channels broadcast commercials at a volume 20-50% louder than the programmes they interrupt, as the New Zealand Herald revealed more than two years ago. As I said at the time, broadcasters have steadfastly denied this is the case, suggesting that people are imagining things or they use technobabble to suggest people don’t know what they’re talking about.

The US Senate just unanimously passed a new regulation mandating that TV commercials in the US must be kept at the same volume as the programmes they interrupt. The US House passed a similar law, and the two versions will be reconciled after the US elections.

Since New Zealand broadcasters have flat-out refused to fix this aural assault, it’s time for the government to step in and do it for them. This is so common sense that it beggars belief that it hasn’t been done already. Still, I don’t seriously expect this government, with its avoidance of regulation, no matter how necessary and legitimate, to do anything. Still, I’ve written to the Broadcasting Minister to ask him, and I’ll pass on whatever I find out.

So, until a government finally does as other countries are doing and regulates audio levels, I’ll do as I’ve done for years: Hit mute when commercials play, especially the extra-loud Sky promos. It means I’ll miss all the commercials playing, even those at normal sound levels. Tough. If TV broadcasters won’t deal to this once and for all, then they can expect me to miss all the ads played during their programmes, which means that responsible advertisers aren’t getting what they’re paying for due to the broadcasters’ irresponsibility.

If broadcasters refuse to listen to viewers, and if government won’t act, then maybe it’s up to responsible advertisers to put pressure on broadcasters. Until someone acts, advertisers are wasting their money on me and countless others who won’t hear their messages at all.

1 comment:

d said...

"Back in the day", I bought a Magnovox brand TV because they had a special technology feature called "Smart Sound" - it would automatically make everything the same sound based on the volume level set by the person using the remote.

It was fantastic! I've always been surprised that other TV brands didn't offer the same technology.

We have just purchased a DVR, so commericals are a thing of the past for us anyway.