Let TV Promotions Sound Louder Than Ads, Cable Companies Say

Promotions for television shows aren’t advertisements and should be exempt from pending U.S. limits on how loud ads can be, cable companies led by Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) 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.

The cable trade group seeks to “exclude as many advertisements as possible” from the rules, 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 to ensure ads on television aren’t louder than the programming.

“The distinction between promotional materials and other forms of advertising would not be readily apparent to a consumer,” Eshoo wrote in the letter distributed by e-mail.

The FCC was mistaken in concluding that promotions are advertisements when it wrote the rule last year, the Washington- based cable group said in its filing 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, which is based in Philadelphia, No. 2 Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) and New York-area provider Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC)

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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