I think I’ve developed a mild psychological allergy to advertising. Since I cancelled my cable subscription a few years ago, I’ve gotten out of the habit of sitting through ads. This probably explains why I have trouble with Hulu Plus (you pay, but the shows still have commercials). Most of my programming comes through purchases from Amazon Instant Video or watching Netflix, which are both commercial free. YouTube exists in some middle ground between these two models. They show a commercial at the beginning, but then get out of the way.
Every week we read new announcements about networks starting to offer their content via direct subscription (cutting out the cable service middleman). HBO, Showtime, ESPN, CBS, and others have already launched or will be launching soon. I got excited about this until I read that I would be paying for programming that sill contained commercials.
Creating good content takes time, energy, creativity, and money. I don’t expect to receive these goods for free. Let me state clearly: I am willing to pay for content. However, I am not willing to pay for content that has already been paid for by advertising. Pick your model, folks.
Despite my tone, I am optimistic about the future. We are still living in the early days of this shift. Hell, it still seems novel to us that Amazon and Netflix make their own (award-winning) shows. As content creators experiment with different models, I’m sure many of them will arrive at some mechanism for cultivating a direct relationship between the producers and consumers. Sell me content piece by piece. Better yet, allow me to subscribe to a season or a channel. You will know more about your viewers and keep more of the profits.