Good news and bad news

ustream-crisisI had a long talk on Friday with our new contact at UStream and she is awesome. We discussed and addressed all of the observations, concerns, and complaints that were brought to the attention of the mods and myself and have a plan for tackling most of them.

  1. Mid roll commercials – these are the commercials that come up while watching the centers live stream. Apparently FFRC got lucky for the last year or two as they were supposed to have been running all this time… But they weren’t – Sorry to say they are here to stay.
  2. Inappropriate commercials – specifically the Amy Schumer show’s commercials – They can block certain ads but
  3. Loud commercials – this should be illegal like it is for commercials but they dont have the facility to control the source volume for the broadcaster, ad provider and the end users computer – so dont turn it up too loud, you know to expect a commercial.
  4. Frequency of commercials – UStream has told us that we will be able to adjust the frequency of commercials on the site but we dont know how yet… The contact at UStream is sending me some documentation oh how it is supposed to work. With any luck we can lower or adjust the frequency so its less obtrusive.
  5. Ad blocker – and last but not least is the ad blocker question. The bottom line is if the commericial does not play the center wont get paid. Until we find a way to live with it or change it – blocking the ads denies the center of revenue from your visit and viewership. However we know you love us and we love you and wont hold it against you.

I wanted to say one last thing about UStream and that is this. Until the roll out of this new program and the forced Midroll of commercials at regular intervals during the broadcast we really have been taking them for granted. The service has had a better than 99% uptime since I have been working with the center – That is a year and a half of 24/7 broadcasting without interruption (on their part) AND they have paid us to do it!

So I wanted to thank UStream for their fabulous product (regardless of spotty customer service) and ask you all to be patient while we work with them to try and make these new policies work with the FFRC structure. Rest assured that if we cannot make it work,we are exploring alternatives.

Cheers all and w00t!


Oh and a long response as well…

Straight from UStream Support – but it looks like someone took the time to write this – it looks like there may be some benefit to the ads, but whether it justifies the intrusion into the live stream I am not sure…
*********** FROM USTREAM ON MAY 07 2013 ************

Thank you for replying to us.

I will be happy to answer your questions bellow:

1. In the new Program we introduce a broader lineup of ad vendors, in addition to Google AdSense. These include another Google entity, DoubleClick AdExchange, leading worldwide ad networks such as BrightRoll, TubeMogul, but also a lot of international partners who help monetize any non-US viewership. Note, every ad vendor – while providing diverse ads – is required to filter their advertising to be fitting for our audiences. Where there is an automated tool to block sensitive categories we do this ourselves, and where there is no such automation, we communicate our guidelines to every involved party. These guidelines are extremely strict, but just as with any ad network, there might be exceptions when an unwanted commercial is mixed into the many ads shown. In these cases we kindly request the cooperation of those who encounter it, so we can alert our partners. ( We did this the same way with AdSense ).

2. In-video overlays ( the banner sized ads on the bottom of the screen ) are retired due to low income rates.

3. The increase is estimated from the broader coverage, as the new ad sources begin to overbid each other for the ad space. Both coverage and prices are thus driven higher. Side-note, the ‘forced ads’ are the Mid-roll breaks that have been standard on Ustream for years, only the previous ( Google ) revenue share program users stayed exempt until now.

4. While we can not estimate revenue changes for specific channels, overall we anticipate an increase of up to-, or over 100%.

5. Yes, since AdSense usually makes payment on the 4th week of each month, and the new Program is NET 45, the last AdSense payment and the first PayPal payment will be a bit further apart than usual. Ongoing payments will of course not have this gap.

6. April and March advertising should fully be paid by AdSense still. With the end of April, the previous Program has ended as per our email messages indicated, the communication between the video players and our Partners’ AdSense accounts were removed. May revenues will be fully generated within Ustream.

7. The new Program is currently the only such Program of Ustream, you may refer to it as the Revenue-share Partner Program or Partner Program / Revshare Program for short.

To your last questions:
We fully understand your concerns and appreciate your feedback. While we are constantly exploring new technologies to predict the ideal time to launch ad-breaks, it’s exactly the vivid nature of LIVE shows such as FFRC that makes this quest hard. Currently we can offer two methods to deliver the commercials, one is to rely on the Broadcaster – which for shorter shows is ideal – but which might not work for you all day long, as it requires to ‘click’ the ad-tool within fifteen-minutes of time. The other is to time the ads relative from when users have joined in to see the show, which has the disadvantage of covering out some spontaneous events on-screen, but has the advantage of being fully automated. Since for 24/7 shows especially the timed ad breaks can generate the vast majority of the revenue, for the time being we would advise for you to launch the ads manually when you have a chance, and let the automated system take care of the rest of the day when you can’t interact with the PC. While it’s not ideal, it can be a compromise until there is new technology available.

Meanwhile Ustream is working on a method that even during automated ad-breaks the streams should resume from when they have left off, not covering out, but pausing the show for while the ads run.

Best regards,

Ustream Community Support

Short response

Update – I received a short response today from someone at UStream – She said she could not answer my questions – but she has been getting our UStream backgrounds changed and is quite nice. A “Director of Business Development” is supposed to be getting in touch with me later this week – hes at a conference at the moment. So… More waiting…

UStream Crisis Looms

The UStream CrisisFirst I wanted to say on behalf of Jacci and everyone at the center, thank you for being such loyal supporters! Second I wanted to apologize for what appears to be a radical change in how UStream works. By ‘appears’ I mean that we just dont know. There really is no information about what specifically is going on and how things will be different at the end of these changes but it looks like from now on we will be dealing with forced video ads all through the broadcast and that is that. No more unstructured, uninterrupted broadcasts from the center. Period.

Since we are waiting for any kind of response from UStream, today I am going to just do some bullet points which will be straightforward and succinct, but I also wanted to explain that FFRC gets a significant monthly income from the ads on the kittycam which we have come to depend on. Since we dont know any actual useful information about the new program we are concerned about the program and the future of the kittycam revenue. So in the short term we ask that you not block the ads while we try to figure out what is going on and what to do about it. If you block the ads – no revenue for FFRC from your visit.

Sorry if i am sounding a little melodramatic but there is a bit more to the story which I will explain. I want to make it clear though that with this change we have no idea what to expect from UStream. They are not doing a good job of telling us what EXACTLY is happening or going to happen – let alone why. The information here is a summary and conclusion based on how the site functions now and what precious little we could find in the online docs. Check this blog often as when we learn more we will come on here and lay it out for you.

So here is what we figured out so far (We think)

1. UStream is changing the way it collects advertising revenue. They plan to no longer use googles adsense to provide the ads on their channels. FFRC had to sign up for the new one – no choice.

2. What the new ad structure, frequency, and function will be is still unknown. The program does not kick in until May 21 but it appears to revolve around forced, regular video ads, rather than banner ads or click boxes. But there are no details on the UStream site – we will just have to wait and see.

3. It is our understanding that from now on there will be forced video content (ads) on all UStream channels, both the basic and the pro packages. So even if we pay through the nose to eliminate those ads, there will still be times when the ads will be injected regardless. For example – late at night. This means that there will be no more unstructured 24/7 channels on UStream at all. Sorry but we will have to deal with the ads.

4. They have said that FFRC will be able to control the frequency of the ads. So far we have not been able to find the controls for changing the ad frequency but we are working on it.

5. If you choose to “block all ads”, and no longer get the video commercials or banner ads, then FFRC will make no revenue from the time you spend watching the kittycam.

We love our viewers and chatters and want you to enjoy every visit to the kittycam more than the last – so naturally we are not happy with this new program at UStream ourselves. We will continue to be in contact with them trying to work this out but their customer service moves at a glacial pace, their tech support is non-existant, and their online documentation is quite inadequate.

I was going to open up comments on this post, but for now I think I will just say this. If you have any questions or comments please email us at

Friends of Felines' Rescue Center is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program
designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to