Are TV commercials too loud?

Some people in Canada think so:

Ever noticed that TV commercials seem to be louder than the program? So has Canada's broadcast regulator.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has launched a public consultation on the loudness of TV commercials.

What is the equilibrium?  Ban loud commercials and people will turn up the volume.  First, they won't need to tune down the volume for protection against the commercials, and second the broadcasters might lower the volume on the shows so that the commercials are still louder by contrast.

With a threshold effect (the program has to be at least so loud, or you can't hear it), the average heard volume of commercials could end up louder than before.  Imagine the supplier making the program really, really faint, to induce you to make the package louder.

Or if the volume and thus the effectiveness of commercials declines, the real $$ price of cable might go up to compensate.  Even with price regulation, the real price can rise by a decline in the quality of programming.  Admittedly, especially in the short run, the cable company might just "swallow" the volume change, but in the longer run program quality should be expected to adjust.

I wonder how much of the cost of commercials is the volume, and how much the cost is the voice prosody and the continual feeling that they are trying to intrude, which follows from pacing, mood, speed of talking, and so on.  These are other margins where suppliers can adjust.

Probably this change won't much benefit viewers.


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