Finally, more ads in online programming


Finally, a full slate of commercials in online shows.  This is where we’re headed.  People will moan and groan.  Purists will damn the defiling of their online sanctuary.  But, c’mon, why should we get to watch commercial-free (or -light) programming online?  The delivery mechanism doesn’t change the basic content, so why should the price (paid with my attention to advertising) go down by a quarter, or half, or all the way to free?

Think about this way:  The folks at Pfizer spend billions failing to cure illnesses, and billions more getting it right.  I want the medicine, I pay for it.  I don’t get a 75% discount to take the medicine from a spoon instead of a pill.

The delivery mechanism isn’t the issue.   It’s about all the money spent to develop something that works.

The folks at CBS wasted tons of dough making a bunch of lousy programs, but they also produced Two and a Half Men.  I want the content, I pay for it.

Again, the delivery mechanism isn’t the issue.  It’s about all the money spent to develop something that works.

If we could get medicine for free there wouldn’t be any medicine because nobody could afford to invent, produce and distribute it.

Same thing for content.  “We spend billions of dollars buying and making these programs. And if we give this stuff to consumers for free with limited ads, it’ll go away,” says Andy Heller, vice chairman of Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting, in this WSJ article.

Over time, I believe we’ll pay for content in ways that differ from just watching 30-second spots.  We’ll get more involved with the advertising, because on the internet we can get more involved.  Maybe we’ll get more involved with fewer, more meaningful (relevant to our own needs and interests) brands.  But one way or the other, we’re going to pay for good content.  As well we should.


Bigger banners are inevitable

techcrunch070109 Once you’ve had something for free it sucks to pay for it.  Oh well.  Most people would prefer advertising not intrude on our browsing experience.  I understand.  I wish American Express would stop intruding on my dining experiences.  We’re going to pay for valuable online content somehow, like with our attention to advertising (umm, not a new model).  There is no such thing as a free lunch.  Advertising will become more intrusive over time. It will also become more relevant and more (oh God I’m going to say it) engaging.  Remember when people found it unseemly to send unsolicited email?  Yeah, we got over that…

You get what you pay for, unless it’s online…


I believe the current internet is a great deal for people but pretty lousy  for advertisers.  We get SO MUCH great stuff online and we don’t have to pay much for it at all.  Yet.  “Long Tail” author Chris Anderson has published a book on this subject:  “Free:  The Future of a Radical Price.”  Personally, I don’t believe in free.  So I was glad to see Malcolm Gladwell’s review of the book in The New Yorker.  I think it’s safe to say he’s not all aboard the free train, either.  You can read his review here:

The fascinating, and ironic, thing to me is that you can actually click on this link and read a thoughtful, articulate, well-researched and wonderfully-written piece without having to buy the magazine or even a subscription to The New Yorker online.  I bet you Malcolm didn’t write the piece “for free.”  So, why do we get to read this without paying for it?  Where’s the justice in that?  The invisible hand of economics?  This  sounds like a free lunch, and my Stanford Econ 101 professor assured me there is no such thing as a free lunch.

I believe him.  I think we are in the midst of a reckoning here.  This is a subject I will use this blog to explore.  I welcome your input.