Blip.Tv & Producers

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jul 10, 2011

Filed under: Rants 77 comments


I was planning on going back to Blip.Tv after a few weeks and re-visit the service, but there’s one point about my original tirade that’s been eating away at me. I want to set the record straight, and I don’t want to wait a few weeks to do it. While the over-saturation of ads on Blip was really aggravating, it wasn’t at all fair to heap the blame on them the way I did. We talked about this in the comments, but I want give this correction its own post where everyone can see it.

One of the important things about Blip is that the content producer (people like Nostalgia Critic, The Spoony One, and SF Debris) sets what kind of advertising they want to use on their videos. They can choose to have pop-over ads, pre-roll ads, or both. Or neither. So the number of ads you’re exposed to has everything to do with the choices made by the producer, not Blip. They will let you host an ad-free show on their dime, and they will let you ad-bomb your viewers into madness.

The impact of this varies greatly depending on the length of the show, because Blip plays ads at the beginning and end. (And I imagine most people escape the one at the end with the back button.) So, if you’re watching a half-hour show this is very mild. One 30 second commercial per half hour is less advertising than any broadcast station. On the other hand, if the show is broken into ten-minute chunks, then you’re going to be watching an ad every ten minutes. Even if the ads are short, that density will try anyone’s patience. (The frequency of commercial breaks is arguably more important than length when it comes to advertising. Note how over the decades, TV stations have made their ad breaks longer, but the total number of breaks per hour hasn’t really changed. (Keeping in mind I haven’t really watched any television in 7 years or so.))

If we’re going to blame for the density of advertising, then we need to place the same blame on every webhost in the world. (Discounting those occasions when the stream stalls and you have to re-watch an ad to get it going again.) If I turned this site into an insufferable wall of advertising, the blame should go on me, not my webhost. The only thing Blip is guilty of is giving content producers enough rope to hang themselves with. And really, too much freedom is better than too little in that regard. I’d much prefer this to the YouTube system where they don’t give you any advertising options until the video has been up for a few days, and then they don’t give you any control over how much or when or even help you to understand what your viewers will see or how much you’ll get or what percent of the revenue they’re sharing with you.

A contributing factor to my frustration was that I was trying to watch a show that had originally been carved up into the old YouTube-sized ten-minute chunks, which greatly multiplied the number of ads I had to deal with.

Part of this problem is one of perception. While it wasn’t fair for me to lay the blame for “too many ads” on Blip (again, discounting the malfunctions that made me repeat ads) it’s a mistake that a lot of people are going to make, because video advertising doesn’t usually work like this. When a show doubles up on the ads, we don’t blame the cast of House or CSI: Spokane or whatever show we’re watching. We blame the network. Ideally, there needs to be some way to communicate this to viewers. (I have no idea how to accomplish this.) There needs to be a feedback loop between viewers and producers, so producers can get a sense of how much (or how little) advertising impacts viewer experience.

For shows migrating from YouTube, I’d suggest that producers only enable pre-roll ads once per episode. If you’ve got a half-hour show in three segments, put the pre-roll on parts two and / or three. That way people can settle in and enjoy the show for a bit before they get hit with an ad. This has less of a chance to driving people away who aren’t yet invested in the show, and will make things less painful for people going through the archives looking for a particular episode. (I can’t begin to tell you what a painful proposition that is.)

Of course, there will always be misguided, short-sighted, or uninformed people who will set the advertising to maximum, which will exacerbate the adblock problem I talked about in my original post. There is a point of diminishing returns to all advertising, and to find that point takes time and analysis. Maybe doubling your ads will double your money at no cost to viewership. (You win.) Maybe doubling your ads will double your per-view income but drive away half your viewers. (You lose a little. You’re making the same money but your show has half the reach.) Maybe it will only slightly increase your per-view income, gut your fan base, and drive a bunch of people to use adblock. (You lose, I lose, your viewers lose, everybody loses.)

I’m still planning on coming back to this topic in the future, but I didn’t want to wait any longer to clear that up. Since the weight of my tirade was about how “spammy” the service was, I wanted to apologize and make this point clear. Blip isn’t poisoning the well, as I put it. (Some) content producers are. Hopefully this is something that can be corrected over time. I used to see ad-heavy web pages all the time. Now they are very rare, and mostly ignored. Most website owners found the right balance, and Google pagerank took care of the ones who didn’t. I’m hoping we can see the same balance for video. Ideally we’ll have a setup where guys like Spoony and SF Debris can make a decent paycheck without the rest of us having to watch the same commercial six times an hour, and everyone will win.

So again, sorry about the whole, “They are a blight on the internet thing.”

(Again, posted in “rants” only so it will follow the others in the archives.)


From The Archives:

77 thoughts on “Blip.Tv & Producers

  1. Jarenth says:

    That’s a really well-written apology you have here. Very classy.

    I assume the money content producers make from Blip ties in to the amount of ads they decide to allow? In that case, you could make a case for Blip encouraging ad-spamming; but I agree that the ‘blame’ in these cases would still be with the content producers.

    1. uberfail says:

      As I understand they get a Cut of the ad revenue. So yeah more ads means more revenue.

  2. MrWhales says:

    Oh Shamus, I don’t care.

    I have the patience of a rock. And if something feels like it has too many ads. I just move on to something better.

    1. uberfail says:

      Wouldn’t a rock have enough patience to sit through the ads?

      1. Grey_Cap says:

        Not if it’s a discerning rock of good taste.

    2. Ayegill says:

      That’s… a very weird analogy. To me it would seem like rocks were very patient

  3. Atarlost says:

    Blip is, though, allowing the well to be poisoned.

    It’s like the tragedy of the commons, but in this case Blip owns the commons. I’m not sure what they could do without tracking the amount each user views per content producer and limiting adds based on duration watched though. And it wouldn’t work because nobody accepts cookies anymore.

    1. Sydney says:

      Simple. Turn down the ‘maximum’. Take out some of the options.

  4. Kel'Thuzad says:

    “Maybe doubling your ads will double your per-view income but drive away half your viewers. (You lose a little. You're making the same money but your show has half the reach.)”

    This would not be a little loss, this would be quite a great loss. Your ad revenue will be the same but you’ll be losing viewers and annoying the customer. I don’t see an upside and I don’t think there is one.

  5. Steve C says:

    Shamus said: On the other hand, if the show is broken into ten-minute chunks, then you're going to be watching an ad every ten minutes.”

    Ads are shown on live TV more frequently than every 10 mins. Typically commercial breaks are every 7 mins or so. There are 22 mins of show, 8 mins of commercials per 30min time block. The 22-8 split is the standard across North America.

    A increasingly common exception to this are for movies. For a 1.5 hour movie they will backload the commercials. So there might be no breaks in the first half hour, then start adding more frequent breaks until the last 10 mins of the movie has 5 commercial breaks in it. (This drives me nuts and I’ve stopped watching movies on stations that do something like this.) This varies greatly from station to station and movie to movie.

    1. Shamus says:

      What I remember from my TV-watching days. (Which apparently is no longer true?)

      For an hour show, like Trek:

      * opening teaser to show, theme song
      * commercial
      * first half of show
      * commercial
      * build up to climax
      * commercial
      * finale, denouement, closing credits

      Then there’s another block between shows, which I didn’t count. A bit like the break at the end of a Blip show – you only watch that if you forget not to.

      You did kind of end up with commercials clustered around the hour mark. Right before the end, between shows, and post-opening all happened within fifteen minutes.

      1. Shamus says:

        Thinking about this more, it would be interesting to have a system where the producer could choose where the commercial went. SF Debris has an opening theme and usually a little bit of preamble before the episode begins. I wonder how it would work to have an opening similar to the old Trek shows, where you could hook viewer before hitting them with ads.*

        * Aside from the technological clusterfarg of seamlessly splicing in another video stream in real time, I mean.

        1. Mephane says:

          Thinking about this more, it would be interesting to have a system where the producer could choose where the commercial went.

          I always was under the assumption that this is how it works – any show being produced specifically to fit the commercial break intervals. When I see a show here (synchronized on a local channel), it is really easy to point out the places where the commercials were meant to come, because it’s almost always a moment of strong tension and then *cut* it goes slow again. It’s really weird at first until you realize if there is meant to be a commercial break, it’s obviously so people sit through the break to keep watching afterwards. But our local channels break the shows up in totally different intervals, which makes the commercials sometimes come in weird moments (to compensate, they usually repeat the last 10-20 seconds after the ad, just to get you get you into the flow of the story again), while leaving these suddend drops in tension right in the middle between commercials. Heh.

          That said and pretty much off-topic, I can never forgive them for cancelling Stargate: Universe, I found it by far the best show of the franchise.

          1. Sucal says:

            Heresy. Seasons one – four of the original were the best

            1. Jeff says:

              Nobody is better than Colonel MacGyver. NOBODY.

        2. Robin Z says:

          That’s what The Daily Show does, but they have their own website.

        3. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

 (a licensed distributor of streaming animation, movies, and TV shows from Asia) places its ads where the natural break occurs for commercials, even if it’s not directly in the middle of the show. It’s very much like watching the show on TV and makes the whole process much less obtrusive.

      2. acronix says:

        It`s the same down here, since our stations follow you, north-dwellers, but then the show is split in six pieces of ten minutes with commercials in between of undetermined lenght (I`m thinking they are three minutes or so, but I don`t have a chronometer or the will to use it). Then the show ends, there´s some more commercials and after those you get the credits. And after that? More commercials before the next shows starts the cycle again.

        Movies follow a “first hour without commercials, second hour without movie” scheme.

        EDIT: This should have gone under Steve C`s comment. *facepalms*

      3. Brandon says:

        Well, typically a single 30 minute block episode of something will actually be between 21 and 23 minutes. The newest shows are closer to 21, but I think the average is about 22 minutes. That includes opening and closing, and they sometimes speed up the closing on TV and show ads on the top half of the screen while they scroll the credits squished up on the bottom half. I think you’re pretty lucky to see a 60 minute block TV show that runs even 45 minutes these days.

        1. Miral says:

          As far as I am aware, “60 minute” shows are *always* 42-43 minutes long, in reality.

          I used to rely on this to squeeze 4 episodes onto a 3 hour video tape. :)

      4. Kacky Snorgle says:

        I don’t track this stuff carefully, but it was once explained to me that an hour-long show generally consists of a “teaser” and five “acts”, with commercials between. So that would be five commercial breaks per show, plus the one between shows. I have no idea whether this is absolutely standard, though.

      5. Hitch says:

        Many cable stations have eliminated the block of commercials between shows. (They still have just as many, they keep them all in the middle of the show.) They run the end credits super fast and cold start the next show immediately, hoping you’ll be watching the next show before you think to change channel and see what else is on. Especially when they run “marathons” of 10 to 12 hours of the same show. You might look away for a minute and not realize a new episode has started.

      6. Fengor says:

        On the subject of just commercials in general you know what I’m sick of? TV commercials that roll 15 minutes before any trailers actually start. I think there was some kind of law passed that said you couldn’t do that AFTER the listed time for the movie starting.(or something to that effect) so now they dim the lights and play commercials I get bombarded with at home.

        You know I was cool with the pre-show slide show thingy they used to do but this is ridiculous and a damned health hazard because 15minutes prior to the movie starting people are still moving around. I actually watched someone fall last week when I went see Transformers because the house lights were off to play those damned TV commercials.

        1. Jeff says:

          The one exception to the “I hate TV commercials during the movies” I experienced was when they rolled a new advertisement for a GPS. When Mr. T’s voice snapped “TURN RIGHT!” the whole theater burst out laughing.

    2. Meredith says:

      And heaven forbid it’s a 2 or 2.5 hour movie. I hope you cleared you calendar for the day.

      1. Kdansky says:

        And again, the pirates offer the better product…

        1. GiantRaven says:

          Or, you know, the DVD.

        2. Stranger says:

          . . . or the premium movie channels, which play them uninterrupted? And in the case of some, uncensored? (I’m looking at YOU Blazing Saddles on TBS!)

          1. Von Krieger says:

            I can’t believe they cut out the sounds in the campfire scene.

      2. Von Krieger says:

        This. I watched The Sting on Netflix the other day. The only other time I’d seen it was on network TV when I was little. I remember seeing this great big, massive block of time on the TV guide for the show, and it turns out the film is about 2 hours long. Much shorter than I thought it was.

    3. Zukhramm says:

      What? Every seven minutes? It’s not like that on the channels I watch, the three times every year I watch TV. Honestly I can not imagine anyone watching TV if there were breaks every 7 minutes.

  6. Meredith says:

    I rarely give the television my full attention these days, but I noticed this week that I get unreasonably annoyed with 30 second ad breaks on Hulu in the exact same places where the network would put 2-3 minutes of ads. It felt like way too many interruptions even though it was wasting less of my time.

    I think because ads on web videos tend to be under that half-minute mark, we feel more tied down to watching them so as not to miss the show. When ads start on tv, don’t most people go to the kitchen or bathroom, or check e-mail or just do anything other than occasionally glance up to make sure the show’s not back? I suspect it’s a problem more of perception than actual obnoxiousness on the part of the ads.

    1. Shamus says:

      You also can’t easily channel-surf during ads. I mean, you can mute the ad, open another window, search for something to watch, queue it up, and watch a bit, but it’s not the same thing as hitting the button and jumping from one thing to another. I do find myself watching the ads much more than I would if I was using a television.

    2. Raygereio says:

      I suspect it's a problem more of perception than actual obnoxiousness on the part of the ads.

      I’m really curious: what is “actual obnoxiousness”? How would you quantify that?

    3. General Karthos says:

      I also might be inclined to suggest that it is the same one, two, or three commercials, over and over and over again. At least on television, those commercial-producing folks bother to keep (most of) their commercials fresh, and actually try to make them interesting so that you might unmute the TV and take a look and listen.

      There seems to be no interest at all in that in internet advertising. Certainly little interest in keeping them fresh. So I’d suggest you’re annoyed when it’s one or two commercials over and over and over again, whereas with the television you don’t have to suffer through the same ad time and time again.

      Furthermore, Hulu tends to tie its commercials in a few seconds INTO the next act. That may just be something weird about my watching experience, but having ten seconds of the next act, then 60 seconds of commercials REALLY annoys me.

      Finally, at least with my television (and pretty much anyone on digital cable [and maybe satellite? I wouldn’t know]) the television can be paused, so once the commercials start you can pause the TV, go out into the kitchen, make some popcorn, come back, and then sit down and fast-forward through the commercials. Which is FURTHER incentive for advertisers to make their commercials amusing. So that you might actually go back and watch a commercial you could fast-forward through.

      That’s my theory, anyway.

      1. Miral says:

        YES. Most of our local TV stations have websites where you can view older shows as well (to catch up if you missed the broadcast). On normal broadcast you can watch for two hours and maybe see the same ad twice if you’re really unlucky. Online you can watch for half an hour and see nothing but the same one ad over and over. It’s infuriating.

  7. Shamus, one of the reasons I so enjoy your blog is that you’re willing to admit when you’re wrong and apologize.

    Oh, and personally I have two browser windows open when I watch stuff on hulu or blip. One with the video, and one with whatever I’m reading (currently working my way through your back blog entries). But I am massively ADD, and am completely incapable of just sitting and watching something. In fact, I’ve been known to read, knit, and watch TV all at the same time.

    And a random aside, there will be more Spoiler Warning soonish, yes? I am really starting to miss it. Where else can I get such crazy game-breaking amusement?

    1. bit says:

      Josh was on holiday for the last 2 weeks, so I believe that SW will start up again on Tuesday.

    2. ngthagg says:

      It’s worth noting that this article was a direct result of the guy’s reasonable response to Shamus’ original rant. Reminds me of Tit For Tat strategy.

      1. Shamus says:

        It’s very true. If Mike Hudack (or someone else from Blip) hadn’t stopped by, I wouldn’t have bothered to look into this further. I was mad, frustrated, and blew off some steam on my blog. Like I do. Then Hudack showed up and said, “We’re listening. We care.”, and I became interested in Blip as both a company and as a bit of technology.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Note how over the decades, TV stations have made their ad breaks longer, but the total number of breaks per hour hasn't really changed.”

    Dont know about your country,but I clearly remember the exact moment when the ads have made me stopped watching tv completely.I was waiting for a movie on this one network that was infamous for its huge number of ads.Knowing this,Ive turned the tv on,and went to do something else.So the first block of ads started before the movie,about 30 minutes or so(Im not exaggerating),then came the intro for the movie(a short cg rendered jingle the station had),then another block of ads,about 20 minutes long.Finaly,50 minutes in,I started watching the movie.After about half of the movie,there was another block of ads,again at least 20 minutes long.And finally,before the climax,when there were only about 10 minutes of the movie left,another ad block,this time clocking in almost 30 minutes,again.The worst part:These blocks were having the same ads,sometimes multiple ads for the same product one after the other.This idiocy completelly blew my mind,and Ive stopped watching tv completely after that.

    Though there was some new law passed some 2,3 years ago that put a limit to the length of ads you can have in an hour,but I didnt want to check if this made a difference.

    1. Amarsir says:

      Let’s give some credit to Reality Shows, which pioneered the idea of putting commercials 5 minutes apart yet still having nothng in between them.

      1. Hitch says:

        Oh yes. Two minutes of “previously…” followed by two minutes of “new action,” followed by two minutes of “coming up…”

        And at the end of the hour, you realize that everything remotely interesting that happened was in the commercial that made you think the show might be worth watching.

    2. WJS says:

      That reminds me of what I see when I look at (which doesn’t work with adblock on): [imgur]

      Yes, that’s five, count them, five ads for BT broadband on one screen. Four of them are completely identical. And they’re all hideous animated crap that brings my browser to it’s knees. Crap likethat is why I use adblock. The internet isn’t just annoying without it, it’s unusable. And mine is a gaming machine. I shudder to think how people with office machines survive.

  9. Zaghadka says:

    It’s still the same ad, though. I wonder if No-Script or my cookie settings aren’t forcing to show the same ad over and over again.

    That’s the most annoying bit about it for me.

    1. rofltehcat says:

      I guess it is based on what country you are watching from.
      After the first posts about I watched a few shows over there. An australian girl cooking, some guys trying to save their geeky faire and something about some roleplayers going on a quest and walking around in costumes… yeah. Also “zapped” around for other stuff.
      I didn’t get a single add. And I had NoScript and Adblock turned off.

      So maybe there were no adds for Germany or something?

      1. Chargone says:

        or you fluked out and only looked at things who’s (publishers?) elected not to have ads.

        1. Matthias says:

          I don’t think so, I have pretty much the same experience (also from Germany).
          Although I would gladly trade relatively ad-free watching for getting access to services like Hulu…

  10. Hal says:

    This is mostly on topic, but occurred to me after reading the post:

    Has anyone here ever actually bought anything based on an internet advertisement? I don’t mean advertisements disguised as news, I mean banner ads, pop-ups, etc.

    In all the time that I’ve both been online and had my own credit card, I have never thought to myself, “Oh, Shamus has a banner ad for Fruity Blergs? I have no idea what those are, but maybe I’ll click through and buy 18 boxes.”

    1. aldowyn says:

      I know tons of times I’ve tried games based on banner ads that I see. I’ve never paid for any, but I probably would have for some of them if I had access to money.

      But, the completely random ones, as opposed to the fit-for-you Google stuff? Not so much.

    2. JPH says:

      I haven’t bought anything because of them, no, but they have lead me to free things like webcomics and indie games. I believe banner ads were what first introduced me to Vindictus.

    3. Shamus says:

      I almost bought some dice once.

      And I’ve become aware of games (that I later purchased) through ads.

    4. Aaron says:

      I envision this as akin to infomercials on TV. I have never / probably will never buy anything I see on an infomercial, but they are still around because TONS of people actually do throw money at those products. Now those same people are on the internet, and are bombarded by an exponential amount of advertising.

    5. Chargone says:

      nope. plenty of webcomics and the occasional free game… oh, wait, no. there was one ad for a NZ based anime selling type website i ended up buying some stuff from… but that wasn’t a Product ad, i already wanted the product… i suppose it counts though.

    6. Kdansky says:

      Nope. I have never bought anything because of an ad. But then I am the ultimate not-impulse buyer. Since ads are lost on me to begin with, I don’t see the issue with using adblock.

      I still claim that ads are made for stupid people (because let’s be honest: The vast majority of ads are absolutely stupid). Ads are designed for impulse buyers, for non-sceptics and for idiots. There are a ton of stupid people, and they are easier to win over than the thinkers.

      And I do not owe anyone to watch an ad. Because I’m still not going to click it, so watching or not makes no difference.

      1. Simon Buchan says:

        Except that it being delivered to your browser gets the owner of the page you are reading some money, of course…

    7. DanMan says:

      It kinda depends on what you mean by “buy something”. There are three things that catch my interest: Movies, other websites and video games.

      Something that I actually like about YouTube’s advertising is that they will, every now and again, show a movie trailer. And that trailer is very typically something I didn’t know was coming out. I will go see these movies occasionally.

      Like Shamus said, sometimes I will buy games (or it will make me aware that a game I thought looked interesting is actually coming out soon). I played Lord of the Rings Online for the first time because the Escapist was advertising that it was now free to play.

      Lastly, I am a webcomic nerd. I read everything from Penny Arcade to Questionable Content. There will be times when an advert from a website will link me to a new webcomic or some other website that I will then visit regularly.

      I have never, however, whipped out a credit card and purchased something that needs to be mailed to me or anything like that via adverts

    8. Jeff says:

      I’ve mainly been introduced to comics by ads, though one ad made me go “WHOA! They have a Dungeon Siege THREE?!”

      P.S. Dungeon Siege 3 is nothing like the rest of the series.
      P.P.S. People keep saying “adds”, and since I recently rejoined Champions Online (which is now Free to Play) it just makes me think “Oh no, we aggro’d another group!” The word is ads, people!

  11. James Pony says:

    Here in Finland we supposedly have a law that limits the amount and frequency of ads for TV. Something like X minutes per 30, 45 or 60 minutes or X number of ads per 30/45/60 minutes. And it’s different for movies (on TV) too. Or so I’ve been told anyway. I don’t watch TV almost at all nowadays (maybe a movie or a documentary every month or two, on average), so it’s hard to tell.

    I was shocked and horrified when someone who had visited the US told me that they saw a commercial break during a TV-movie’s end credits.

    But then again, my biggest problem with ads is THAT THEY ARE FUCKING INSULTING, intellectually speaking. They are irritating and vapid, they have stupid jingles and bad actors, they advertise products I don’t need with false promises of ridiculous effects I don’t want. And they pretend that’s what I want.

    1. Aaron says:

      Speaking of horrible commericals, not sure if you get any of the “head on” commercials in Finland, if not be thankful.

      1. James Pony says:

        I haven’t seen any here, but I know the thing from my internet expeditions. Admittedly, I like the versions where the product is replaced by a Pylon and a headcrab.

      2. Michael says:

        Or the JG Wentworth commercials.

        Dunno if those are still on, but we had a sing-along on some TF server I was playing on. Everyone knew exactly what we were singing. EVERYONE. (That seems like something that would happen on Death By Kukri. Was it Death By Kukri? Geez, I am bad at memory.)

        Not a horrible commercial: I liked the song, and I remembered it and the service they were selling, so it was obviously effective. But it was just strange is all. An opera on a city bus.

        The reason it was annoying was because it played so damned often. (Seriously – is it still on the air? Not a rhetorical question.)

  12. Blake says:

    I think the best thing Blip could do would be to draft up some preferred guidelines for advertising and when somebody uploads something to default to something that works for something of that length.

    I’d imagine most content producers haven’t really thought about where the ads are going and what it’ll do to their user base, some guidelines with reasoning behind them could get some consistency and keep everyone basically knowing what to expect.

    Buffering an ad while watching another (so the content producer could have an ad after the intro sequence or whatever) would be a very nice thing to have.
    I’d imagine for web videos though you’d want the ad break at a different point in time (maybe half way through a 10 minute video), but once the technology is in place I’m sure people would eventually figure that out.

  13. Thomas says:

    “One 30 second commercial per half hour is less advertising than any broadcast station.”

    Any broadcasting corporation but the British Broadcasting Corporation! Haha!

    Sorry, I had a brief and embarrassing spurt of patriotism there

    1. Hitch says:

      We get commercials in our shows, but there’s no “license fees.” Do I understand that correctly? You pay a monthly or yearly fee for owning a television set and that’s why the cat detector vans patrol the streets.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        The licens on TVs is pretty bizarre in Sweden at least. I’ve got a small TV I use as a computer screen and for my gaming consoles. The things is, I can’t actually watch TV on it because the analog network for television was shut down a couple of years ago, which means you need an additional receiver to actually watch TV. So why isn’t the fee on the reliever instead of the now useless screen? I don’t know.

        1. WJS says:

          That is bizarre. In the UK, you only need to pay the license if you actually watch TV on your TV. I have a TV screen hooked up to my computer, but since the only “TV” I watch on it is digital media, I don’t need a TV license.

      2. MrPyro says:

        That’s pretty much correct; it’s a yearly fee but can be paid in monthly installments if you want.

        At the current exchange rate it’s about $220-$230 a year; given that the Beeb has some really good programming I’ve never had an objection to paying. Also no adverts (except for them advertising their other shows, and that’s only between shows, not interrupting).

    2. KremlinLaptop says:

      I once had a brief and embarrassing spurt of patriotism in public; I had to clean up strings of those tiny novelty flags for hours afterwards.

    3. GiantRaven says:

      Thank god for the BBC and their ad-free coverage of Formula 1. I see literally nothing else worth owning a television for.

  14. Ravens Cry says:

    Clear headed maturity? On My Internet? Never!
    Just kidding, it is very delightful to see a sincere apology in world swarming with trolls and layabouts. Kudos for you and your status as an Adult, Mr.Shamus Young, you have truly earned that title.

  15. Bentusi16 says:

    My only real issue with the blip TV ad system is the audio, rather then the amount. I don’t mind watching a single, 30 second commercial every ten minutes or so.

    I tend to have one computer volume and adjust the programs volumes individually, and I’ll have it nice and then BOOM ADVERTISEMENT MY EAR DRUMS.

    However, I believe the fellow mentioned that they were looking to fix this issue.

    1. Ian says:

      That’s just how commercials are mastered nowadays. They compress the hell out of the audio to maximize the loudness. It’s kind of like how audio CDs mastered in the early 90s sound quieter than ones mastered now (for an example of this technique in action, take an original master — say, the original CD release of Q: We Are Not Men, A: We Are Devo — and compare it to the remastered edition; the latter generally sounds much louder).

      The general idea is to make the quiet parts play at the same volume as the loud parts, effectively minimizing the dynamic range of the audio. In music, a single instrument playing sounds just as loud as the entire band playing. I can’t think of a better example than the song Before I Forget by Slipknot (even if you’re not into that kind of music, YouTube it and play the first 20 seconds of it to hear modern “mastering” at work — note that you need to find the album version, as the music video version has a different opening). For the fun of it, play something like Rush’s 2112 right afterward. It’ll sound significantly quieter despite your volume being identical. Even if you were to normalize 2112 to 0 dB (it’s mastered at -1 dB, at least on the CD pressing that I own) it’ll still sound much, much quieter. This is the same technique that commercials use, and it’s bloody annoying. The worst part is that there’s almost nothing that users can do about it. Even Blip would have a hard time stopping it — the only reliable way, I think, would be to lower the volume on all ads by a set amount.

      1. WJS says:

        There are technical ways you could match the volume of the ad with the volume of the video it’s played with, but there’d be a fair bit of overhead involved. You’d need to get the volume of each video uploaded, and also the volume of each ad, and set the volume levels in the browser appropriately. Not that complicated, but by “get”, I’m pretty sure I actually mean “load the stream and run a bunch of signal processing (expensive!) over it”, since “volume level” isn’t part of the file format.

  16. Emilly Orr says:

    No. No, I don’t think an apology was deserved. I’ve been spending a great deal of time over the past two weeks on sites that host, and without any doubt whatsoever, they consistently run the SAME ads, sometimes even back to back, and frequently–not rarely, not even occasionally–the same damned ad more than every five minutes.

    Is that the call of the program involved? Sure, maybe. But you stated in the first entry that told you they never run ads more than five minutes apart.

    And they LIE, Shamus. They are lying to your FACE. And it upsets me. If there were any other alternative than, believe me, I would go there, and I’m starting to reach the point where I’m going to start actively campaigning against Blip for their underhanded practices.

    No. You should not be apologizing for their clear misdeeds.

  17. The Bard says:

    As someone who frequently jumps on your back and hits you with a verbal frying pan for your seemingly illogical hatred from time to time, I must give you props here and bend my knee.

    Most people don’t apologize when they’ve gone too far. I will give you a “Have a Rage free” card. The next time I want to slap you for raging at something, I shall instead slap myself! ;)

  18. Eärlindor says:

    I don’t know if anyone’s already brought this up, but AMC (American Movie Classics) is brutal with their commercials. It always starts of minimalistic, but the closer you get to the climax and conclusion, the commercials become more and more frequent to the point where you have one every 5 or 10 minutes. Probably closer to 5 actually. I guess they figure people will keep watching if they leave them hanging in suspense. Whatever. It’s terrible. Never really liked that channel anyway, plus I don’t really watch TV either.

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