If you stream video online, take note: Two members of Congress are making a push to limit the loudness of commercials there.
Rep. Anna Eshoo and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, both Democrats, have introduced a bill to update the CALM Act. CALM stands for Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation. Their bill would extend prohibitions of the 2010 law to video streaming services.
The language of the bill focuses on video services; it does not appear to present implications for audio-only services, at least as currently written.
Eshoo said the original law aimed to put an end to “booming ads on TV that were highly annoying for consumers.”
“Since the law was enacted, streaming services have recreated the problem of loud ads because the old law doesn’t apply to them, and consumers continue to complain about loud ads on broadcast, cable and satellite TV,” she said in an announcement.
“Our bill is simple: the volume of commercials on streaming services cannot be louder than regular programming, as is the case with traditional TV, and the bill gives the FCC increased authority to investigate violations of the law by traditional TV operators.”
The lawmakers quoted a supportive statement from Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel of Consumer Report: “Consumers don’t like loud commercials any more than they did in 2010 … And they don’t distinguish between high volume commercials aired on traditional television platforms versus the many streaming video services accessed by consumers in 2022.”
The legislation would also strengthen the ability of the FCC to enforce violations by broadcast, cable and satellite TV operators. Additionally, it would require a study to analyze the effectiveness of the CALM Act in moderating ad loudness.
The lawmakers have posted a summary of their proposal.