Ability to skip ads in the podcast

App version: 2.0.0 (Play Store)

Feature you want: Ability to skip ads and sponsors in the podcast

Suggested solution: Users submit when a sponsor or ad happens in an episode, and it automatically skips sponsors it knows about. Supports skipping other categories, such as intros, outros and reminders to subscribe.

Screenshots / Drawings / Technical details: This is something already exists for Youtube videos maybe can be integrated in podcasts too.

Hi @Draconian

Thanks to the AntennaPod community forum! (And sorry nobody replied until now)

I personally don’t have any podcasts with ads that I’d want to skip, but I get this feature might be interesting. You’re not the only one to bring up SponsorBlock - it’s been mentioned also in this GitHub issue (where AntennaPod’s app development happens).
It’s an interesting concept & process, but I guess quite complex to integrate, both on a technical level as well as in the UI, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up this gets implemented quickly.

I guess we should discuss here just that: how it could integrate in a nice way in the UI. Would you have any ideas for that?

I only have two podcasts that I listen to that contain ads. On both of them, the ads are almost always the same length and the ad is always prefaced by a bell or a chime. I just have my fast forward button set to skip ahead 15 seconds, which is usually enough to skip the ad. The only time I don’t do it this way is when I am driving, because my partner feels it is unsafe and I’d have to agree.

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For reference, they spoke about it on Podcasting 2.0: Episode 8: Chapter 8 http://adam.curry.com/html/PC200820201023Podcas-mRC5pZ8HF6nPtDV1rXdFVk2mLL476n.html [00:34:03]

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When I am driving I uncheck the Forward Button Skip, and Android auto would do fast forward when you press the skip button, works even on bluetooth

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I think you could make it work with one extra button in the player controls.

Press the button to “Start Segment” at the current time and press again to record the end of the segment. Then open a little pop-up with a menu for selecting the type of segment and a check mark to submit the data.

Sponsorblock allows you to use the service passively, without contributing yourself, and it still works very well. So I think people should have the option to hide the button and still have the feature turned on.

The progress bar should indicate the skipped segments with a different color like the add-on does.

I honestly think this would be the ultimate killer feature and would make AntennaPod very popular very quickly.

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Thanks @FeederPilot for chipping in! A few thoughts.

Nice idea. Do you know of other apps that implement this? Any idea for a kind of icon? Where in the interface do you think it could be placed (taking into consideration that the interface is currently nice & clean, and that we want to keep it that way)?

I see your point. But a) this would introduce yet another setting (in addition to the settings required for the integration) b) I would make an argument for making such functionality always available: if you want to benefit from it, you should (be able to easily) contribute to it. An option to hide this encourages leeching.

Good idea.

That’s what I thought of ChromeCast support when it got introduced. I lost faith in single possible killer features ever since :slight_smile: Different users, different needs…

Nice idea. Do you know of other apps that implement this?

No. this would be the only one, I think.

Any idea for a kind of icon?

That depends if you would go with the minimal approach and only do one type of segment (ads). Then I’d use a shield, like many AdBlockers do. For more segment types a shield could still work but maybe something different would be good. Can’t think of anything though.

Where in the interface do you think it could be placed

Left next to the playback speed button is still room. I think I’d try to scale both of those buttons down a bit. They don’t need to be as big as the Skip Buttons.

Or you could introduce a second row between the progress bar and the player controls with small icons where Speed, Sponsorblock and Sleep timer could live. Not as clean anymore but clean enough (to me) and very useful for quick access.

An option to hide this encourages leeching.

True, but leechers gonna leech anyway. Nothing that’s that important to me though.

That’s what I thought of ChromeCast support when it got introduced. I lost faith in single possible killer features ever since :slight_smile: Different users, different needs…

I could’ve told you! I think the amount of people that cast their podcasts to their speakers is probably not that big. But one thing everybody can agree on is that ads suck. So I really think this would be pretty huge.

Have you looked at the Sponsorblock repository? Wouldn’t it be possible to take the core functionality and port it to AntennaPod? Just to make things a little easier, I mean. Maybe the author would be open to a cooperation in some form. Could be awesome.

Hi there,

Long time, first time, etc. Just my 2c as a pretty heavy podcast listener - I know we don’t want to make ethical/moral choices on behalf of users, which is fine, but I think we can try to nudge them in the direction of supporting content creators.

Personally, I’d only use such a feature where I don’t have the option to pay for ad-free content (e.g. Stuff You Should Know), as a convenience instead of fast forwarding. Where I can, I pay.

Can we find/create a service (actually, I’ve been looking for a side-project) where sponsorship/donation/contribution options for a podcast are listed? With something like that, AntennaPod could then look up a particular podcast by feed URL, and display a donate/support button as appropriate when this type of feature is activated. Sure, many people would just ignore this and skip ads anyway, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

I’m tempted to suggest that this be an image like this :stuck_out_tongue::

I don’t want to guilt users, but I really really don’t want podcast creators to all move to something like spotify or stitcher.


Here’s a video showing how Vanced (android app) made SponsorBlock submissions work on mobile:

And here is a video that shows the submission workflow in the browser extension if you have not seen:

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I completely agree, it’s my same fear. I don’t like walled gardens. One pod I really enjoy did that last winter and I, sadly, no longer listen.

Ask ourselves these three simple questions:

  • Who owns?
  • Who labours?
  • Who benefits?

I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion too easily. I, for one, don’t think ads suck. They’re not awesome, but they pay the creators or my fun-time. Anyway - whether ads suck or not is not the point of this thread, so I’ll stop there :slight_smile:

I haven’t - but I’m not a developer so wouldn’t be of any help implementing this either way :stuck_out_tongue:

There is stuff going on over at the Podcast Index. There’s two relevant requests to integrate it in AntennaPod:

Thanks for sharing that @ajayyy ! Very helpful to see how this could work. It does feel like AntennaPod would need a dedicated row for SponsorBlock in the player screen.

The frame selection in video is very helpful in finding the start and end, but I’m wondering how this could be replicated with audio only. Showing a still obviously is not going to work. Either:

  • Audio-only start and end-points would be much more an approximation. When playing, we should start skipping a bit later, and stop skipping a bit earlier. Or
  • We need to find a way to find the right points. I guess the preview button will be important.
    • Maybe a ‘check start’ and a ‘check end’ button could help: after setting initial points, hitting either button will play the area t-10s until t+10s in slow-motion (e.g. 0.5 speed), displays somehow the timeline zoomed in with a draggable pin to more precise tweaking.
    • Maybe we need to display audio waves like Audacity does, to support visual finding start/end points. Could work in combination with the above: a pop-up that displays such wave of a period around the initially selected points, with a slider to do more precise location.

Different point; I know from previous issues in AntennaPod that storing the playback location of audio-files with variable bitrate can sometimes be problematic. Could this prove an issue for SponsorBlock support?

Interesting, yea that could be a pretty major issue. I know we recently noticed that a music video on YouTube suddenly had broken segments, and it seems to have been caused by it being “remastered” into HD, and probably reencoding.

Don’t some podcast networks use dynamic ad slots as well? So simply matching timestamps with a given RSS entry wouldn’t work 100% I believe, there may need to be some fingerprinting involved to uniquely identify the episode. Unlike SB where YouTube gives us a unique ID for each video.

Better yet, fingerprint the ad?

Sounds like implementing this got a whole lot more challenging than I thought when the feature request was created on GitHub. However, fingerprinting would be something that’d be newly implemented in SponsorBlock, and sounds rather complex. I suspect that dynamic advertising is still relatively small, so I’d first focus on getting timestamps implemented.

@ajayyy Is there a list somewhere of segment categories that you support?

Sorry, I missed this message.

There is a list in here: https://github.com/ajayyy/SponsorBlock/blob/master/config.json.example

Sponsor, Intro, Outro, Interaction Reminder, Self/Unpaid promotion (Promotion that is not a sponsor)

The “music_offtopic” category is non music sections in music videos, which is not applicable to podcasts.

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