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Loudness in Advertisements

Broadcasters are aware that community concern exists in relation to the perceived loudness of advertisements compared with adjacent programs.

Broadcasters transmit television programs and commercials at exactly the same volume and do not take any action to contribute towards advertisements appearing louder than program material.

The issue of loudness is complicated. Unlike volume, which can be accurately and objectively measured, 'loudness' is largely subjective and is influenced by a variety of factors including volume, pitch, compression and other sound processing techniques.  These factors can contribute to advertisements appearing 'louder' than programs even when broadcast at the same volume.

In addition, an advertisement that is unobtrusive when broadcast during an action movie/drama program may appear louder when broadcast during a talk show or variety program.

To the extent technically practicable, broadcasters have sought to address concerns regarding loudness in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice.

The Code contains provisions which state that:

1.11  Commercials must not be excessively noisy or strident; 
1.12 Licensees must do everything reasonably possible to ensure that commercials do not sound louder than adjacent programming;
1.13 Studio transmission must not be increased from normal levels during program breaks;
1.14 A licensee shall be deemed to have complied with Clauses 1.11 and 1.12 provided it ensures that the relevant requirements of Free TV Australia's Operation Practice Note on Loudness of Advertisements, as amended from time to time, have been met. This requirement is satisfied if a person submitting a commercial certifies to the licensee that all requirements of the Operational Practice Note on Loudness of Advertisements concerning compression, limiting and equalisation have been met.

Advertisements submitted to stations for broadcast are required to comply with the requirements of the Operational Practice Note on Loudness of Advertisements (OP 48).  You can view or download OP 48 here.