Ustream.TV pushing inline ads without warning.


I am leaving Usream.TV as soon as possible. Large in part due to what happened during a live sponsored event on ustream when they started without warning pushing large advertisements into the content stream.

I did not opt into having ads jammed into my viewers face. It was ridiculous. The ads where completely inappropriate for our audience.

I would have gladly payed for a premium service to not have ads forced n my viewers. But now that they have done this without warning I am finished with them they have burned a bridge here.

This could not come at a worse time as I was planning on holding the Podcast Awards ceremony on their service. I will be looking at alternatives today and tomorrow. Mogulus is one possibility but their encoding is not as good as Ustream.

The way they initiated this is wrong. No warning nothing. I understand a company has to make money just give us a heads up that this is going to start. 

Sad to think that they would not consider asking people to pay for premium accounts before doing this.

Not only that but the moderator over on their forums closed the discussion when I asked to how to turn advertising off, apparently they are getting some heat over this.

I have been chatting with some of their biggest streamed shows and they are pulling the plug on them as well.

Update: It should be noted that I am not against a company making money after all they have to keep the lights on. What I do take issue with is that the ads that are being pushed into the streaming content multiple times over the course of a hour and taking up nearly 1/2 of the screen real estate. The ads popped up so many times in that the viewers where annoyed. When the viewers get annoyed they leave.

When Blip.TV came out with a pro service I gladly payed the $100.00 a year for faster encoding and the ability to have my own branded player without a watermark. They got paid and I got some cool new features. I am sure Ustream.TV is having trouble determining what is a fair value to charge for a pro-service but for many of us our viewer experience if important enough to pay for. If I were a betting man I bet the ads in those overlays do not pay that much. I bet what i would be willing to pay is more than they would ever make in this type of advertising.

About geeknews

Todd Cochrane is the Founder of Geek News Central and host of the Geek News Central Podcast. He is a Podcast Hall of Fame Inductee and was one of the very first podcasters in 2004. He wrote the first book on podcasting, and did many of the early Podcast Advertising deals in the podcasting space. He does two other podcasts in addition to Geek News Central. The New Media Show and Podcast Legends.

11 thoughts on “Ustream.TV pushing inline ads without warning.

  1. Yeah those ads pretty much sucked. I agree that they need to make money but i think a very small lower third type would be best.

    On the other side I think you did over react a little Todd. It is a free service and they don’t have to tell you anything since the TOS probably said they were allowed to inject ads where they wanted.

    Now both of you go kiss and make up :-)

  2. They emailed people several months ago and did media outreach (see that Mashable post above).

    I spoke with a buddy of mine who works at Ustream and he said they are testing out many different ads methods. Apparently they are launching several new services/programs soon.

    Personally, I like the overlays better than pre-rolls!

  3. It was announced back in June. They have been testing a variety of ads over the last 6 months from pre-roll to mid-rolls to overlays.

    See here:

    Not sure where you have been Todd, but this is the case for all the live streaming sites. BlogTV is 100 times worse than Ustream. Mogulus is doing the exact same ads on their service (through Scanscout just like Ustream).

    Its a free service, so you gotta expect them to keep the lights on somehow. Ustream is still by far the best out there.

  4. We are happy to consider having you on Livestation if you want to have a chat. As you can see from our service we deal mainly with the big news guys but we are starting to look at interesting and quality web content as well. Get in touch if you are interested.

  5. My issue was there was no warning. Or even the request to pay for premium service. Its not like I don’t pay for things I use.

    This site has ads of course but its not cool to push ads into the content the way they did un-announced.

    The ads were weird as well not at all suited for the content.

  6. Apparently this was implemented two weeks ago with no announcement or warning. There are a few unhappy campers in the forums. Aside from the sudden shock of the ads themselves and their size and placment, the primary concern is the content of the ads since some of them are clearly inappropriate for the audience of the content being viewed.

    The mod you talked to is just a volunteer. From his responses to the posts it seemed to take him by surprise as well and it is likely he is merely reacting to do some damage control with no real preparation.

    I was watching the Round Table discussion and having been a member of UStream for awhile I was definitely not expecting it. These are Google ads overlayed on the video and apparently there was no filter in place. The first at was for a CT scan. What that had to do with the discussion was anybody’s guess.

    This was clearly a poor judgement on the part of UStream. At the very least they should have given the members a one or two week notice before launching the ads. If this is the way they treat their content providers and viewers they may not be in business long.

  7. You have a million ads pastered on here and I don’t complain.

    Personally I think you are overreacting and sound very petty.

    My 2 cents.

  8. I would expect to see more of this on other sites in the future, Todd. The sites that have been coasting VC money without a revenue model have likely been asked to put up or shut up. Given the state of the economy, they are not going to be alone in making moves to monetize. Still no excuse for the way they instituted it.

    I’ll bet bootstrapping the company seems better all of the time!

  9. I’ve always had weird issues with their service. If they’re randomly inserting ads now, I’ll just go elsewhere for my streaming needs.

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