Ads 'Too Loud', Brit Regulators Tell TV Channel

14 July 2005

Five, the smallest of Britain's four national terrestrial TV channels, had its wrist soundly slapped on Tuesday by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Five's crime?

Upping the sound volume of commercial breaks during its screening of the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, notably after some of the film's quieter moments.

Responding to viewers' complaints, the ASA agreed that almost all the ads "sounded subjectively louder than the main content of the surrounding film".

This resulted in "almost constant loudness," because the channel had used audio compression. "The film contained several scenes of quiet dialogue, some of which immediately preceded advertising breaks."

The practice of boosting sound volume during commercial breaks is widespread but is, of course, refuted by broadcasters. It is also a breach of the ASA's TV Advertising Standards Code, prompting the watchdog to sternly warn the channel to monitor its broadcasts henceforth.

Five denies that its ad staff are now undergoing trauma counselling in the wake of the ASA's reprimand.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff