HitBliss video streaming service


So, this is the worst thing ever, maybe, but secretly maybe awesome, depending on your paranoia and threshold for marketing. Been around since early this year but I just discovered it and didn’t see any discussion of it here.

It’s the advertising for content model, laid bare. Billing themselves as sort of a Pandora for movie/TV, you run their app (on your Mac, PC, or Android Device, they say they’re looking into iOS but I’m pretty sure there are a half-dozen App Store policies that mean that will never happen) and you choose to do one of two things: watch ads, or redeem the credit you’ve earned watching ads to watch movies/TV. They’re totally separate, you won’t get ads while you’re watching the stuff you’ve redeemed your credit for.

It’s crazy sounding, and maybe actually crazy. You just watch ads, and right now there aren’t many, so the same ones over and over, and little bars fill up as you watch actual dollar amounts accumulate. There are occasional prompts to make sure you’re actually at your computer and not just idling. And in what will surely be outrageous to some or all of us, the rate you accumulate credit can be increased by opting in to sharing more of your personal info: browser history, income level, etc. It’s just unashamedly trying to get all the info it can from you, and the so-crazy-it-might-just-work angle they’re playing up is that they’re up front about it. The data doesn’t leave your computer, doesn’t tie you to anything else except helping them target ads to you, if they’re to be believed.

So this is all sorta iffy sounding, but here’s the thing that has my attention: it started as just being credit redeemed to watch stuff in their app, and they launched with some movie studios on board or whatever, but now you can apply your credits, from directly in the app, to apparently all of Amazon’s video content that they have available to rent for movies, or purchase for TV.

So I figured, what the hell. I’ll be the guinea pig. I handed over all my info, and with that rate, I earn about $2 for about 5 minutes of watching commercials, which at this point is literally a loop of three different Xbox One commercials and a handful of Dr. Pepper ads. I mute it, turn on a podcast, click when the “PAY ATTENTION” prompt comes up, and now for about the same amount of time I’d watch ads in a regular show anyway (or on Hulu), I’m buying TV shows that will be available through my Amazon video library just as if I bought them straight from Amazon. Download offline to my iPad, stream on my Xbox, whatever, no ties at that point to the HitBliss service.

So this is…awesome? Except maybe I’ve sold my soul and never have a right to complain about the NSA snooping in my data again. And maybe the terms or rates change, or they lose their Amazon deal, or who knows.

But for now I’m going to spend 5 minutes every morning and slowly catch up on Hannibal and Orphan Black and Adventure Time basically for free.

Anyone else messed with this and want to try to scare me away from it?

Here’s an article from The Verge that probably explains it better if I glossed over any details: http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/1/4043530/with-hitbliss-viewers-earn-credit-for-free-movies-and-tv-by-watching

Good to hear someone’s personal experience with this. I was searching on Can I Stream It to see if there was a place to stream Elf and HitBliss was the only one that showed up. Having never heard of it, I checked it out and was both intrigued and slightly put off. I think I am like you in that I am okay with the model because it is so blatant. I will mess with it this weekend.

Yeah, my impressions of it are from literally only using it for one day, so big caveat emptor there, but I’m going to continue with it tentatively. I found it through CanIStream.it as well, trying to take screen captures for the 20:20 thread. I probably wouldn’t have used it again if watching videos was tied to streaming through their application on my desktop, but using it to get Amazon TV shows really is a powerful hook for me.

$2/5min seems like a somewhat decent rate of return - I expect that won’t last. I nearly stopped reading after the first paragraph, but the fact that it applies towards Amazon video purchases (and at that point disconnected from HitBliss) is a really powerful draw.

That’s $48k a year (albeit in “value” rather than real dollars). I don’t foresee it lasting at all.

Hmmm, it looks like the episode of Adventure Time I bought is SD. I need to figure out of it’s limiting Amazon purchases to the SD versions or if there’s a way to choose the HD versions and I just missed it. That might make it a little less exciting.

So yeah. No HD option through Amazon for movie rentals or TV purchases. So there goes a lot of the appeal. I think I’ll still use it from time to time for shows I don’t have another way to catch up on though.

Pretty sure nobody else cared about this, but they’ve put their beta on “hiatus”. This never really felt sustainable even with its limited usefulness to me as it used to work. I’m guessing from here it either 1. doesn’t ever come back or 2. comes back with greater restrictions, especially on the Amazon front. Here’s the email I got:

Dear Chris,

In the past few months, we at HitBliss have been working behind the scenes to collaborate with large entertainment services to make our service bigger and better. We have now reached the point where we need to put our beta on hold in order to complete the work on joining forces with these partners.

We anticipate that this hiatus will take a few months. To alleviate the inconvenience this will cause you, we have provided a way to collect your earned-cash balance as an Amazon.com Gift Card*.

Here is how to do it:

[blah blah blah]

Thanks for your loyalty and we hope you will be patient until we are back - bigger and better!


The HitBliss Team

Got the same thing. Over the past few months, all I really used it for was free Pandora One, so I will miss that a bit. I agree with your thoughts that IF it comes back, it will be significantly limited.