April 5, 2013
HitBliss is offering consumers a new way to watch movies and television online — by working for it. The new model allows consumers to watch video ads of their choosing in exchange for earnings that can be used to view programming for free, without interruption. Katherine Boehret of the Wall Street Journal tested the service over the past week and found it to be a refreshing change compared with other video-watching alternatives.
The service ensures that people are actually watching the video ads by displaying on-screen prompts for clicking. Boehret found this a more effective advertising method than other online video services, which intersperse ads during a show but are largely ignored by viewers.
“On HitBliss, once I watched enough ads to pay for a video, I could forget about ads altogether and enjoy a movie or TV show without interruptions,” she writes.
The video ads on HitBliss are smart. If muted, they’ll stop. If a user scrolls too low on the page, they’ll stop playing. The service keeps track of a user’s “trust level” based on these things and how well they respond to the given prompts. A higher “trust level” results in faster earnings.
As of now, the service is in beta mode and can be downloaded to Macs and PCs. Android and iOS apps are in development.
Though Boehret offers a positive review on WSJ, the experience wasn’t perfect. “On the downside, HitBliss offers a portion of the catalogs found in stores from Apple and Amazon. Though content is new, including current-season TV episodes and new-release movies, I found fewer than 700 movies and about 140 TV shows (with thousands of episodes) in the HitBliss Store. Shows like AMC’s ‘Mad Men,’ FX’s ‘The Americans’ and PBS’s ‘Downton Abbey’ weren’t available,” she explains.
Additionally, the popular habit of binge-watching many episodes or even entire seasons of a show in one day is not possible via HitBliss.
“You can’t rent or purchase more than seven titles a day using the Earned Pay option, so if you want to binge-watch several seasons of a TV series in one day, you’ll have to pony up the dough for the eighth episode on,” according to Boehret. At that point, users could pay for additional episodes.
“If you’re tired of paying for video, HitBliss offers a smart solution that doesn’t take much work for the rewards,” she concludes. “Just prepare yourself for its current limitations.”