CRTC Turning Down the Volume

Have you ever left your television on while you were sleeping, only to be woken suddenly by a sudden volume spike in a commercial? Good news is just around the corner, and it’s something that will leave all Canadian television-watchers sleeping a little easier.

After industry consultations, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released its final regulations, which will see sound fluctuations become a thing of the past on 1 September 2012.  The regulations mirror those proposed by MP Nina Grewal, from Fleetwood-Port Kells in British Columbia, in Bill C-621, a private members’ bill she introduced in Parliament in February 2011.

“Canada is now a step closer to making loud commercials extinct,” according to Grewal. “No longer will Canadians be tormented by loud commercials on their TVs. Now seniors, citizens with sensitive hearing, and everyone else plagued by loud commercials can rest easy because the deadline for broadcasters to comply with the regulations is fast approaching.”

Shortly after Grewal introduced Bill C-621, the CRTC launched a study to investigate the problem of television commercials that are significantly louder than the programs they accompany. In the summer of 2011, as a result of its study, the CRTC announced that it would put regulations in place by September 2012.  

The regulations require Canadian broadcasters to follow the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s (ATSC) standard for measuring and controlling television signals. Adherence to this standard will minimize fluctuations in volume between programming and commercials. Broadcasters are also responsible for maintaining the volume of programs. They must follow these rules and ensure that both programs and ads are transmitted at the same volume.

“To comply with the new regulations, broadcasters will install audio processors to measure the loudness of a program over its entirety and adjust the volume of commercials accordingly,” said Grewal. “This technology will reduce the abrupt changes in volume when a show goes to a commercial break. Many broadcasters such as Rogers, Quebecor Inc., and Shaw Communications are already moved forward to comply with these regulations.”

“Finally, Canadians are going to have the same regulatory protection as television viewers in other countries like the United States and United Kingdom. I am happy to have played a part in relieving Canadians of one life’s many annoyances,” concluded Grewal.