05.10.22

Whitehouse & Eshoo Introduce Bill to Stop Excessively Loud Commercials on TV and Streaming Services

Washington, DC – Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) introduced the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Modernization Act, bicameral legislation that would update the CALM Act, a law enacted in 2010 to limit the loudness of TV ads.  Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is an original cosponsor of the legislation in the Senate and Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA) is an original cosponsor of the legislation in the House.

The CALM Modernization Act extends the CALM Act’s prohibitions to streaming services; strengthens the ability of the FCC to investigate and enforce violations of the CALM Act by broadcast, cable, and satellite TV operators; and requires a study analyzing the effectiveness of the CALM Act in moderating ad loudness.

“New ways to watch TV shouldn’t mean new ways for corporations to blare ads at outrageously high volumes.  It’s time to update our CALM Act to address the uptick in streaming, and to boost enforcement of existing rules against loud commercials,” said Whitehouse.  “I’m glad to partner with Congresswoman Eshoo to help annoyed TV watchers everywhere.  We’ve all had enough.”

“I authored the CALM Act in 2010 with Senator Whitehouse to put an end to the booming ads on TV that were highly annoying for consumers.  Since the law was enacted, streaming services have recreated the problem of loud ads because the old law doesn’t apply to them, and consumers continue to complain about loud ads on broadcast, cable, and satellite TV.  Today, we’re updating the legislation for the benefit of consumers who are tired of diving for the mute button at every commercial break,” said Eshoo.  “Our bill is simple: the volume of commercials on streaming services cannot be louder than regular programming, as is the case with traditional TV, and the bill gives the FCC increased authority to investigate violations of the law by traditional TV operators.”

“Loud commercials can be incessant, annoying and unnecessary,” Duckworth said.  “The CALM Modernization Act is a common-sense, easy solution to build upon a law that’s already been established for more than a decade and improve the lives of everyday Americans.  I’m glad to join Congresswoman Eshoo and Senator Whitehouse to introduce this legislation.”

"Consumers don't like loud commercials any more than they did in 2010, when the original CALM Act authored by Congresswoman Eshoo and Senator Whitehouse was signed into law.  And they don't distinguish between high volume commercials aired on traditional television platforms versus the many streaming video services accessed by consumers in 2022.  Consumer Reports strongly supports the introduction of the CALM Modernization Act as a necessary update to the statute, and we urge Congress to act on it this year,” said Jonathan Schwantes, Senior Policy Counsel of Consumer Reports.

The bill text can be found HERE and a one page summary can be found HERE.