When it comes to movies, books, TV, news and other forms of entertainment, are we willing to pay for an ad-free experience, or would we rather have our free experience subsidized by advertisements?
We touched on this in my previous post, but I wanted to expand on it.
We all understand that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. The people providing us with whatever media needs to be paid somehow — the question is, do we want to pay out-of-pocket, or would we rather pay by viewing ads?
The new Kindle is $25 cheaper than the previous edition, and has ads on the screensaver and on your home page, but not on the pages of your books. But would we rather pay a little more to avoid those ads?
The New York Times recently established a paywall, giving free access to a set number of articles per month. Beyond that, you have to subscribe one way or another (though there are some ways around this). The industry just hasn’t figured out how to sustain itself on advertising alone, in most cases.
My college newspaper was solely funded on ads. We prided ourselves in not taking money from the university, and making our $1M annual operating budget on the sale of ads. Of course, that meant that the reporters and editors were paid barely anything, but we were getting experience and having fun.
I don’t think that newspaper could be supported on a subscription-based model. The students came to expect free news, and they were willing to have ads in the paper to sustain that.
We have a Netflix subscription which allows us to have commercial-free viewing if we’re watching a DVD or streaming content. To me, it’s well worth the monthly price to avoid commercials. It saves time and we’re a little less exposed to advertising that way. But if we were on a really tight budget, we could just watch free movies online — and watch ads to pay for that service.
And then there are ads that exist to pay you money, such as YouData(affiliate link).
I think in many cases, I’m willing to sell my time and attention (via ad exposure) to save money. But it does come at a cost. Exposing yourself to ads really does have an effect on you, and that’s the whole point.
What about you? If you have to view ads, should there be no out-of-pocket cost? Are you willing to pay for an ad-free experience? Or how about meeting somewhere in the middle?