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Let’s talk about ads! Not the science behind marketing, blah blah blah. Smarter people than me can take care of that conversation. Instead, I want to talk about ads in general, and things that are ad-supported.
The topic that brought this to mind was a recent post on /r/podcasts about sponsors. It was what you’d call on Reddit, a “shitpost” – a low-effort post with nothing to say. From that spawned an actual discussion at least, with opinions being split between supporting ads and being vehemently against them. Personally, I’m okay with them, and here’s why.
Full disclosure – I work in an industry that relies on advertising to generate revenue (radio). I am slightly biased, but not for the reason of perpetuating a source of revenue / income.
I am a podcast creator myself; I don’t use ads in my show, but rather rely on a Patreon campaign. However, I understand the need for ads to offset production costs. I have made a conscious choice to not skip ads for a product I am downloading for free. I do not make the financial decision to donate, so I don’t want to cheat the creators out of ads that they feel are necessary to support their craft.
I understand that listening to ads on a podcast is not an act in itself that will bring them money. This is more of a moral decision on my part. But in a similar vein, I also decided to disable adblockers in my browser so that websites I frequent benefit from my ad views. I understand that there’s whitelisting things you can do, so that terrible ad-based sites suffer, but I would rather just not go to those offending websites.
We live in a strange time, I think. Younger generations feel entitled to block out all advertising to get what they want. Some would gladly pay for subscriptions in exchange for an ad-free experience, but I think that might get close to the erosion of net neutrality. This is also probably a ‘slippery slope’ argument in the making, so I’m going to stop there.
I think that my final opinion on the matter is that I’m perfectly fine with ads, if they are supporting a medium that I’m not paying for. Radio, podcasts, and web sites – those are great examples. All of those have options for ad-free experiences as well in most cases.
For radio, there is Satellite Radio available (for which I have a subscription – I enjoy both Satellite AND terrestrial radio); for podcasts, there are a host of options; for websites, ad-free versions have been around for years. Apps have paid versions as well as ad-supported free versions.
Where it gets less tolerable are services such as Television, where I pay a subscription service and still get ads. However it is still tolerable, because I realize that the ads are supporting the channels, so it’s really the cable service that I’m paying through the nose for. TV is complicated, guys.
What are your thoughts?