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Trial and Error

Do Overlay Ads Bug You?

February 27, 2008 10:40 AM

Lately I’ve been moonlighting as a contributor to the podcast “This Week in Media.” When we recorded the show last night one of the topics was Google’s Video AdSense product and whether the new product would translate into ads, ads, ads galore all over online video.

I said, “I don’t mind overlays. I don’t mind the type of lower-thirds that appear in an ‘Abigail’s X-Rated Teen Diary,’ for instance.”

But I was alone in that viewpoint. All the other hosts felt ads, even overlay ads, were completely, 100% annoying.

So I was checking out a new online show this morning, www.breakaleg.tv (that’s a new Web sitcom from For Your Imagination), and I noticed that overlay ads run all through the show.

And, again, the ads didn’t bug me in the least.

How do YOU feel about overlay ads?


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Comments (1)


I have to say that I am not nearly as bothered by this as I am by the supposedly see-through promos that networks overlay on their shows. (Sorry if I use the wrong terminology here ... I'm a civilian.) At least the people producing content for these outlets know not to put anything important at the bottom of the shot. In the case of broadcast networks and cable, the content creators probably thought they knew and had accounted for every way that their work could be cropped. I imagine they had no idea that inconsiderate jerks would come along and, without the slightest effort to coordinate with what was on the screen, wipe out the captioning for important bits of foreign language dialog. (And with the accompanying swishing sound, simultaneously wipe out the audio.)

I'm sure that some network apologist will try to claim that doing this right is impossible. I've spent a lifetime designing computer systems, and I'm not buying it. Difficult, I can believe; impossible, no way.

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