Let TV Promos Stay Loud, Say Cable Companies

Industry Argues Volume Limits Shouldn't Apply to TV Promos

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Promotions for TV shows aren't really advertisements and should be exempt from pending U.S. limits on how loud ads can be, cable distributors led by Comcast have told regulators.

The request by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association drew an objection yesterday from Representative Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat who wrote the noise-limiting law underlying rules to take effect in December. Those rules will mean that commercials can't be louder than surrounding programming.

The cable trade group seeks to "exclude as many advertisements as possible" from the rules, Ms. Eshoo said in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat who joined the agency's 4-0 vote last year for rules.

Consumers won't see why ads for TV shows should be any louder than ads for packaged goods and cars, Ms. Eshoo suggested in the letter. "The distinction between promotional materials and other forms of advertising would not be readily apparent to a consumer," she wrote.

But the FCC was mistaken in concluding that promotions are advertisements when it wrote the rule last year, the cable association said in its filing on Aug. 8. Commercials are transmitted in exchange for payment and promotions aren't, the group said.

Complying with the regulations would place burdens on networks that don't carry commercials, according to the filing.

The rules were approved by the FCC last December, to take effect a year later.

Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the trade group, declined to comment beyond the filing. The organization represents largest U.S. cable company Comcast, No. 2 Time Warner Cable and New York-area provider Cablevision Systems.

Neil Grace, a spokesman for the FCC, declined to comment.

~Bloomberg News~

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