If you’re lucky, the next time you encounter an ad on YouTube you can skip it after five seconds. If you’re not, you’ll have to watch the entire ad.
A growing number of people are annoyed with advertisements — or, at the least, the unnecessary time wasted consuming them. The average American encounters 360 advertisements daily, according to a study done by Media Dynamics.
People are trying to distance themselves from advertisements, and technology companies are trying to get closer than ever. Currently, 18% of internet users in the United States 18-24 years old use some form of ad blocker, according to a study done by PageFair.
The running joke nowadays is about how much data the tech giants like Amazon, Apple or Facebook are listening to our conversations in order to better advertise to us. I got a first-hand taste of this last week when the first advertisement I encountered on my phone in the morning was a popular alcoholic beverage known as Four Loko.
The kicker is that the previous day was my 21st birthday, it was illegal for those companies to advertise to me when I was a minor, but now? Fair game! I could drone on forever about the ethics of advertising, but at what point do advertisers have enough information about their customer? Do they realize there’s such a thing as TMI, too much information?
If advertisements didn’t exist how would media companies make money?
In the recent New York Times article, A Crazy Idea for Funding Local News: Charge People for It, Farhad Manjoo points out some of the most successful media companies are those operating without advertisements.
“Netflix is doing it for TV, Spotify for music, and Patreon for podcasters and YouTubers. And many news outlets — big companies like The New York Times and start-ups like The Athletic, which covers sports — are making subscriptions the center of their journalism” said Manjoo.
We see that there’s opportunity in the subscription-based model for both media giants as well as independent content creators, but why have so few local news apprehensive to shift away from the traditional advertising-based business model?
“The reluctance makes sense; local markets are, by definition, small, and journalism is expensive,” said Manjoo.
As more and more people become comfortable with the idea of paying for all of the content they consume, more revenue will be generated, driving down the overall cost that each consumer has to pay.
The biggest problem local news organizations will face in the subscription-based change is figuring out a price that satisfies both producers and consumers. Or better yet, instead of a fixed subscription price, a donation system based on how much value you got from a specific piece of content could be put into place.
When laid out in terms like this is sounds similar to your transaction with a server at a restaurant. There’s no legislation in place to force you to tip your server a certain dollar amount, but we feel socially obligated to reward them for their service, and it’s only a matter of time before you feel obligated to pay someone for an article that they wrote.
Would you pay me for this article?