CALM Act Now in Effect for CommercialsDecember 17, 2012
By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Recently, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules implementing the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM Act). The act responds to years of consumer complaints that the volume on some commercial advertising was much louder than that of programming and requires broadcasters to ensure that the sound level of commercials is the same as programming. It went into effect December 13, 2012.
In the past there obviously have been some advertisers (and their agencies) who, either inadvertently or intentionally increased the audio volume of their commercials. The CALM Act now prevents that.
The main enforcement burden of the act lies with broadcast and cable stations as well as multichannel video program distributors (known as MVPDs and examples include Comcast and Verizon FiOS) and requires them to adopt industry technology that ensures commercials aren’t louder than regular programming.
It is expected that most stations/distributors will require that commercial materials be delivered meeting specifications adhering to the acceptable sound levels. At least one major network has stated that they will not be adjusting commercial sound levels and reserves the right to reject any commercial material that does not meet the requirements.
ANA’s sister trade associations, the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) and AICE (Association of Independent Creative Editors, which represents editorial and post-production houses) are well aware of the CALM Act and will inform and remind their respective clients of the act, when necessary. The majority of advertisers simply need to be aware of the CALM Act and no action is required. Marketers who produce/finish commercials in-house need to know the detailed requirements for compliance and have updated materials specs from all stations in their media buy.
Key Takeaway: Marketers need to be aware of the CALM Act and the fact that the sound level of commercials be the same as programming (not louder!).
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