Andrew Hudson

Would You Pay Us for This?

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?


6 thoughts on “Would You Pay Us for This?

  1. Excellent points, Andrew. Have you ever messed around with Facebook voice-activated advertising? For some strange reason, Facebook doesn’t tell consumers about this useful new feature. You can actually verbally talk about a certain product or type of products to tailor the advertisements to you! Isn’t that great? We can customize what kind of ads we see just by talking about the products – the only expense is the knowledge that Facebook (like others) is listening through our phones. Scary.


  2. I really appreciated the point you made, that advertisements are annoying consumers. I personally was shocked at home many ads an average American encounters a day! I just knew they drove me crazy. Bringing in those facts helped me appreciate just how primed the market is to support a subscription-based business model.

    I also loved the flow of this article. You presented a problem, you suggested a solution and you gave additional ideas and insights as to how you could implement that solution. It was easy to follow, interesting and enjoyable. I especially loved your comparison of a donation model to tipping. I had never thought of that as an option before.

    So basically, yes I would be happy to pay you for this article!


  3. I think this was a really good article with many good points. Advertisements can be annoying but i’ve found that they’re tolerable when they’re just on the side of the screen however when they begin to pop up is when they become rather annoying. For youtube, having to watch an ad before your video wouldn’t even be so bad if we were always granted the skip ad option because I won’t lie sometimes the advertisement is good and i’ll watch it through but more times than not, the advertisement isn’t appealing to me and those are generally the ads without the option to skip. I also notice ads randomly popping up on apps that i’ve downloaded (mainly games) and an ad will normally pop up after each level that I play which becomes extremely tedious. I was just reading online the other day about people complaining that when looking for gifts online to purchase for a loved one, ads will start to pop up for that item and it makes them no long want to online shop or use a private window because it seems like there’s no secrecy these days. Overall, I understand the need for advertisements, however I feel there should be a better layout for them that’s not so in your face to consumers and also more age appropriate ones on popular websites and apps because kids also use these apps nowadays too, which coincides with your story about seeing drinking advertisements before you even turned 21. Also, to answer your question I wouldn’t pay for one specific article but I would pay for the service to the website the article is posted to if the website had everything that fit my needs, so in hindsight, possibly. Great post!


  4. I agree with all of the points you made in this article. It used to drive me insane, seeing so many ads on whatever website I was on and they were all the same kinds. I do a lot of my shopping for clothes online so it makes sense, but it is just as annoying. Now I am relatively used to seeing those kinds of ads and I just ignore them. What really bothers me now is the ads that break up videos on Facebook and the sponsored ads on Instagram that try to blend into your feed. Now to answer your question, no I would not pay to use a website unless I was consuming their content every day. It just would not be worth it to me.


  5. You did a great job on this article. I thought it was truly moving. I agree with Courtney. It annoys the living daylights out of me with all the ads that seem to be everywhere. I can’t even go on facebook without seeing the shoes that I was looking at on amazon. I DO NOT NEED THE TEMPTATION. But anyways, you did a really great job on this article and your ending sentence was absolutely brilliant.


  6. Andrew,
    I like the idea around this blog, that it focuses on the one article about funding local papers and how you should charge people for it. It would have been interesting to hear more abut why this might NOT work and how to MAKE it work. What do you think? It what kind of situations might this “charging” not work?
    Also do you think subscriptions will get increasingly more expensive? As time goes on I have noticed certain app subscriptions are getting quite pricey. I wonder if there will be a cap, at what point will people stop paying.



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