At last TV stations have acknowledged a rort we've all known about.

Finally, after years of complaints, television networks are turning down their ads - most networks will introduce the quieter ads from January but TVNZ will bring in the new improved commercials as of today.

Years ago, when I was working on Fair Go, we investigated a complaint from a viewer about the extreme noisiness of the ads, compared with the sound of the programmes, and we got the same weasel words from advertisers that they're still giving today.

It's not that the ads are louder, said the ad man in a tone of exaggerated patience, not in terms of decibels at least. It's just that the sound is compressed, which makes them sound louder than the programmes.


Well, if they sound louder then they are louder, surely, and this is what disgruntled television viewers have been complaining about for years.

In fact, the current TVNZ chief executive says research has shown that loud shouty ads are the thing people most dislike about watching television. Even advertisers concede low-quality ads that rely on shrieking individuals to get attention are bad for the viewer and bad for the industry as a whole. Viewers tend to lump all ads into the same basket.

I can't see how these shouty ads can possibly generate any business - Lily may very well be a nice person but I loathe her ads so much that if I ever need a new mattress, I'd rather sleep on the floor wrapped in a blanket than visit her store.

It will be interesting to see whether or not the decompression makes much of a difference in terms of enhanced viewing pleasure but at least the television networks have finally acknowledged the legitimacy of customer complaints.