Apr 13 2011

Are we willing to pay for an ad-free experience?

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?

5 Responses to “Are we willing to pay for an ad-free experience?”

  1. My Kindle/cover was a Christmas/way to get through Year 1 of nursing school from my husband. I love it.

    I would not buy this new version of the Kindle, even though it’s cheaper. The screensavers already installed are decent to look at. I don’t need to be looking at stuff Amazon wants me to buy!

  2. I answered on the last post, but it is an interesting concept. And it made me laugh a little reading this post in Google Reader, and seeing an ad at the bottom. :-) I guess I wouldn’t pay to read a blog that is free of ads. But I have stopped reading blogs because their ads were just too much.

  3. Yeah I need to take my ads off Google reader. I can’t remember what I did to put them up there! I will ask Shane. Cuz they certainly aren’t making me any money. Ashley (or anyone) please let me know if my ads are too much. Mama wants to pay for college, but not at the expense of irritating people!

  4. Your blog isn’t like that, don’t worry. I’m thinking of some other blogs that I’m blanking on at the moment, since I don’t read them anymore, heh.

  5. There’s a night-and-day difference in my 3.5 year old son’s “I need” list when he’s exposed to kiddie commercials vs. our regular diet of PBS only children’s programs. That’s worth the Netflix subscription to me.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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