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Ofcom slaps Channel 5 for loud PlayStation ads

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With talk of a next-gen console, revamps to PSN and a spanking new handheld on the way, Sony has been making a lot of noise lately. Not quite in the same way its advertising campaign for PS3 has, though.

UK broadcaster Channel 5 has been slapped on the wrist by watchdog Ofcom after 17 viewers complained that PlayStation 3 adverts bookending movie ad breaks were excessively noisy.

According to the industry regulator, the station broke rules by running ads that are louder than than the programmes themselves. Rule 4.7 of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising - aka BCAP - states that “the maximum subjective loudness of advertisements must be consistent and in line with the maximum loudness of programmes and junction material.”

Channel 5 tried to get itself off the hook by claiming a variety of technicalities - loudness subjectivity, peak measurements across all programmes, the use of the word 'advertisements' rather than 'advertisement' in the Code - all of which you can read in Ofcom's ruling on the matter (PDF).

After being notified of the over-loud ads by Ofcom on 15 March, Channel 5 reprocessed the ads' audio to reduce their volume. Unfortunately, as four further complaints show, it wasn't entirely successful.

Channel 5 said such volume assessments are left to a third-party, which failed to test the loudness because of human error. It promised to fix the problem and stop it from continuing. ®

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