Page last updated at 22:57 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

US moves to ban 'excessively noisy' TV advertisements

Children watching TV
Representatives said noisy adverts were 'frustrating' for viewers

The US House of Representatives has approved a bill which aims to limit the volume of television advertisements.

The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM) was approved by a voice vote in the house.

Democrat Anna Eshoo, who filed the motion, said most Americans were willing to tolerate adverts but were annoyed by sudden volume increases.

She said broadcasting industry's current voluntary system had failed to deal with the issue.

The CALM bill means that within a year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must introduce guidelines proposed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) in November.

Under the rules, "excessively noisy or strident" advertisements would be banned, as would adverts which are noticeably louder - or have a "maximum loudness substantially higher" - than the programme they accompany.

The FCC would have another year before it had to start enforcing the standards.

Democrat representative Rick Boucher said loud advertising was "very frustrating" for viewers.

"It's an annoying experience, and something really should be done about it," the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

Ms Eshoo said the legislation would force the industry to adhere to its own standards.

"Volunteerism hasn't worked for 50 years," the Associated Press news agency quoted her as saying.

The legislation needs to be approved by the Senate, which is considering an identical bill.

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