For our readers in the television business, there have been recent developments in two proceedings about which we have written recently. Last week, we wrote about the extension of time to file reply comments on the CALM Act implementation Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, where the FCC is implementing a Congressional act to curb loud commercials
FCC Extends Reply Comment Date on CALM Act Implementation Rules as ATSC Plans Update of Compliance Protocol
The FCC has granted a short extension for Reply Comments on the implementation of the CALM Act. The new deadline for Reply Comments is August 1, 2011. We wrote about the issues in this porceeding here, The CALM Act ("Commercial Announcement Loudness Mitigation" Act), which must be implemented by the end of this year…
Comment Date Set on Rulemaking to Implement the CALM Act Regulating Loud TV Commercials
Dates for comments and replies on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the CALM Act, regulating the volume levels of commercials, have now been set. We provided a detailed summary of that NPRM here. As set out in that summary, the NPRM asks many questions of broadcasters, cable companies, and other Multichannel Video Programming…
FCC Seeks Comments on Implementation of CALM Act Regulating Loud Commercials on Broadcast and Cable Television
In December, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (“CALM”) Act was adopted by Congress and signed by the President, addressing consumer complaints about television commercials that seem louder than the program content that they accompanied. As we wrote in our summary of the Act when it was adopted, Congress has long received many complaints about loud commercials and decided to act, even though many industry groups were concerned about the ability to design an effective system to deal with the contrasts that sometimes exist between the quiet dialogue that might precede a commercial break and the commercial advertisement itself. Nevertheless, Congress adopted the CALM Act, and instructed the FCC to adopt implementing rules within a year. This past week, the FCC released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, looking to adopt rules to implement the statute for over-the-air television broadcast stations, cable systems, satellite, and other multichannel video programming providers. In its NPRM, the FCC asks many questions trying to clarify the details of CALM Act implementation.
The NPRM raises a broad array of implementation issues, ranging from deciding exactly which broadcast stations and which MVPDs are subject to its terms, to the establishment of safe harbors for technical compliance. As discussed in more detail below, the Commission also asks whether stations and systems can shift the burden for compliance with these rules to program suppliers, such as broadcast and cable networks, and whether contractual means of guaranteeing compliance (such as indemnification provisions in contracts between networks and affiliates) are sufficient to ensure compliance by these program providers. Questions about how MVPDs deal with retransmission of broadcast programs, and who is responsible for noncompliant broadcast programming, are also asked. Finally, the FCC suggests processes for consumer complaints and the grant of waivers to stations and systems that cannot quickly comply with the new rules.…
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Congress Passes CALM Act to Restrict Loud Commercials
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the CALM Act, directing the Federal Communications Commission to adopt regulations controlling the volume of commercials on television broadcast stations, cable systems, satellite, and other multichannel video programming providers. This bill was passed by the Senate in September. Once signed by the President, the Federal Communications Commission will be required to adopt a rule to implement the legislation within one year, and the rule is to become effective within one year after its adoption. The FCC rule is to adopt parts of the ATSC A/85 standard, which seeks to target the volume of commercials in digital programming to the volume of dialogue (or other “anchor element”) in the accompanying program. An interesting description of the issues that must be addressed in determining just what is "loud," and for controlling that volume, can be found in a recent Wall Street Journal article (here, subscription may be required).
Congressional estimates are that the costs of necessary equipment range from a few thousand dollars to $20,000 per device, for an aggregate industry cost of tens of millions of dollars. Congress anticipated that the costs may be burdensome for small cable operators and smaller market television broadcasters, and provided that waivers may be granted for financial hardship for one year renewable terms The Commission may also grant waivers or exemptions from the rule that it adopts for classes of broadcasters and multichannel video programming distributors under the FCC’s general waiver authority.…
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