Focussing on the things that matter, Ctd

Phil Goff promised us that Labour would focus on the things that matter to Kiwi voters…like the volume of television advertisements:

There has been an ongoing debate in New Zealand for some time around volume and consistency between featured programmes and commercials on TV, where there are concerns that the audio of television commercials are broadcast at louder sound volumes than the television programme material they accompany. The issue is not straightforward, but the solutions are.

It is unbelievable that a major aprty would consider such an issue worthy of inclusion in a broadcasting policy let alone even mentioning it.

No wonder they are languishing in the polls when their much vaunted communications expert, Clare Curran, thinks that this is one of the things that matter to Kiwi voters.


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  • mps

    Npothing new there – what do you expect from the the party who in government was going to legislate what light bulbs you could use and the pressure of your shower 

  • kevin

    Off subject but…
    If you owned a huge company and wanted a CEO, who would you pick? A goff or John Key?  Easy choice, Key.  NZ is just like a huge company and so needs a business orientated person to be CEO (aka Prime Minister).

  • MrV

    Sadly this probably is an ‘issue’ for many NZers.

    • kevin

      Keeping NZ viable is the main ‘issue’  then other services can operate.

  • sthnjeff

    Funny I thought all televisions made since the Phillips K9 came with a remote control…. Ahh well my mistake, guess it is worthy of more regulation from Labour then

  • Anonymous

    Utterly astounded that Curran has gone so far as to incorporate this into policy. She steadfastly chooses not to understand the actual issues here but, remarkably, claims the solutions are simple.
    I tried to engage with her on Twitter on this issue. She asked me to send her my details which I took as an invitation to have an intelligent, reasoned discussion on why ads sound louder. I sent her my contact details and heard nothing further from her. I tweeted to her that the broadcaster I work for ingests everything at -10dB. That’s commercials, programme material, EVERYTHING. Nothing gets ‘turned up’. Nothing is louder. The transmission chain has equipment in it which lowers and smoothes out any major spikes in audio. She simply does not want to understand what audio compression is and how it affects commercials because she just ignores anything that challenges her belief that broadcasters deliberately make commercials seem louder. Because that would ruin her idiotic “I’m saving New Zealanders from having to use their remote control, how great am I?” policy.
    She claims to have approached several broadcasters to discuss the subject and says she was stonewalled. I very much doubt that. Broadcasters must receive hundreds of complaints each week from old deaf people who crank the hell out of the volume to hear Coronation Street and when the ads come on and have a very busy soundscape, the oldies are probably so surprised that their dentures fall out. There’s no reasoning with those sort of people. There’s no point in trying to explain audio compression. You just say “Yes, tut tut” and move on. That sort of complaint is likely to be so common at broadcasters that the default response is to ignore the complainers unless there’s reason to believe that they will pay attention to – and accept – an explanation as to why commercials sound loud. Clare Curran does not strike me as someone who is willing to listen to the broadcasters as she has demonstrated so far that she is deliberately close minded on this. I suspect that her approach to broadcasters was to say “Your commercials are SO loud! Tell me why they’re SO LOUD! I want to know!” which will get an obvious response. She’d strike success if she were to drop her stance of “broadcasters and advertisers are evil and I’m convinvced we need to regulate them” if she were to approach broadcasters respectfully and with an open mind and say “Could you tell me about the challenges of handling peak audio in television commercials. I’d appreciate it if you could explain to me the systems and policies you have in place.”

    Fortunately Labour won’t get elected anyway and hopefully Clare Curran will have moved on to a job that suits her level of competence before Labour next gets elected. Nonetheless it pisses me off that Labour and especially Curran demonstrate such a profound ignorance of the subject and are not only formulating policy but also threatening to regulate an aspect of industry based on that ignorance.

    “Labour believes broadcasting networks have been slow to adapt and revise their Technical Delivery Requirements to reflect digital technology. ”

    How utterly utterly wrong. Broadcasters have invested not only a lot of time and effort but also millions upon millions of dollars on the transition from the analogue of old to the digital technology of the present. And Clare Curran thinks they’re slow to adapt and revise ther technical delivery requirements? Really? They’ve invested as much as they have and she thinks broadcasters haven’t revised something as fundamental as technical delivery requirements?! Has she even read any such documentation from the various broadcasters? Would she even understand it?

    • John Q Public

      Some good points you’ve raised there Toby, but they do “sound” louder particularly on Sky TV. I find it somewhat laughably odd that broadcasters and advertisers in particular think it’s a superb strategy to encourage viewers to reach for remotes right at the start of ad time. 

      Shit broadcasting policy plank though, agree. 

      • Anonymous

        They seem louder, typically because the programmes during which they are played tend to be mostly under -10dB (shades of light and dark, artistic sound mixing and all that) and a commercial will be as close as possible to -10dB without going louder than that. But there is lots going on in that ad, lots of music, sound effects and voice over – all without being louder than is permitted – but sounds a bit jarring after a quiet programme.

        But so what? It’s one of life’s little annoyances, like mosquitoes or sand in your lunch. Most people are grown up to just get over it but Labour wants to regulate it. Probably they’ll try to legislate in the same way as the Australians and the Americans try to do it. That is, they mandate any technical specifications – their legislation is so vague that it basically says “don’t have loud ads on tv, okay.”

        There are more important things to be worried about but I suppose Clare Curran needs to show that she hasn’t just been sitting around on her arse.

  • Drea

    hey sorry… but just on a different subject but kinda related.. isn’t the ad with the Goof by the lake really similar to the Telecom ad with their CEO fishing in the South Island and apologising for the XT **** up.. only diif is Goof doesn’t say sorry