The purpose of streaming services for many is having the ability to watch your favorite shows and movies without the onslaught of excessively loud and long commercial breaks. However, as streaming platforms grow, so does their incorporation of commercials, ad-breaks, and other promotional material sprinkled amongst their programming.
Arguably the worst aspect of having to sit through commercial breaks is the annoyance of intentionally loud advertisements, their noise levels often meant to disrupt any other activities and draw attention to their own content. The volume of these commercials has even reached Congress, who have become aware of the issue and new legislation, introduced in the House and Senate last week, could lead to a few changes. Most importantly, these changes could prohibit streaming services from running commercials louder than the programming they’re offering.
The bill is called the Commercial Advertisement Loudness mitigation, or CALM, Modernization Act. Not only would it limit streaming ad volume, but would also strengthen the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to enforce violations of the law by broadcast, cable, or satellite television operators.
This bill would actually be a newer version of the CALM Act of 2010, where similar laws were passed regarding the loudness of television ads, though this was long before streaming services were ever a big contender in the market.
Representative Anna Eshoo, D-Calif, who introduced the previous legislation, stated: “I authored the CALM Act in 2010 with Senator [Sheldon] Whitehouse to put an end to the booming ads on TV that were highly annoying for consumers. Since the law was enacted, new popular streaming services have recreated the practice 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.”
Sheldon Whitehouse also offered his own words on the matter, though he didn’t seem particularly excited to share his statement, reportedly irritated about streaming services skirting the initial law using a frustrating loophole.
“Consumers are fed up with advertisers blaring TV commercials at disruptively high volumes because of a weak FCC enforcement regime and a loophole for streaming TV,” he said. “I’m pleased to partner with Congresswoman Eshoo to strengthen our CALM Act to clamp down on loud ads on streaming platforms and give viewers a break.”
This news of the proposed bill would be welcome to many subscribers of sports streaming services, as they are notorious for having excessively loud commercials play every ad break. It would be a nice change to not have to monitor the remote while watching games or other programming, for your eardrums’ sake.