The Federal Communications Commission is not happy with several TV networks that played a trailer for the 2013 film “Olympus Has Fallen,” which used that familiar, jarring tone also used in tests of the Emergency Broadcast System.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the FCC is attempting to fine Viacom, Walt Disney Co., ESPN and NBCUniversal. As a narrative tool for the trailer, which centers on a group of terrorists attacking the White House, the tones are used in conjunction with text scrolls that read “THIS IS NOT A TEST” and “THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
According to Re/code, which originally reported the story, broadcasters are required to test Emergency Alert Systems periodically to ensure that the system is working in the event of an actual local or national crisis. As a result, the trailer attempted to capitalize on the TV-viewing public's familiarity with the emergency alert. But the FCC has said "think again."
According to Gizmodo, the FCC began receiving complaints in March 2013. It aired for roughly a week before networks pulled the spot. Consequently, the commission hit Viacom with a fine of $1.12 million for 108 airings, ESPN with $280,000 for 13 and NBCUniversal with $530,000 for 38, for a total of about $2 million from the cable networks.