The Italian Almanac


Italian News - August 10

Italy is to crack down on television broadcasters who increase the volume during commercial breaks in order to grab their viewers' attention. A survey said that 83% of the adverts shown on three important Italian TV channels were broadcast with a volume level about 50% higher than the programmes they interrupted.

"We have to stop TV advertising that raises its voice. It shows a lack of respect for TV viewers and I don't think it even helps get their attention," said Communications Minister Paolo Gentiloni. Italy's communications authority will set up monitors and work out fines for guilty broadcasters in September.

The practice of cranking up the volume for adverts is expressly forbidden by Italian law. The ban was reiterated only last month by the authority itself. As well as being illegal, it is also "arrogant" to treat viewers this way, Gentiloni said. The minister also voiced the hope that it would never be necessary to hand out fines. "I hope that our initiative will lead broadcasters to change their ways of their own accord".

The survey showing the extent to which broadcasters adjust sound levels, usually on the basis of an agreement with advertisers, was published by the state-run Higher Institute of Communications and Information Technology. It focused on advertising shown by the RAI state-broadcaster's flagship channel, the most popular channel of the Silvio Berlusconi-owned Mediaset network and La 7, an independent national broadcaster. The volume-boosting practice was spread evenly across all three channels.