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I don't see any way in which the ad symbiosis can be broken by legislation. But I do think that new online and local business models will emerge that make them redundant - possibly many-to-many aggregations that are supported by users paying micro-amounts. It will happen first in news because of the massive costly duplication of news gathering and reporting. My crystal ball is fuzzy, but the signs of transformation are there for all to see.
You can't be me, I'm taken
The only difference is that trad media pretend to be serious guardians of morality and culture, while modern media are obviously in it for the money or the lulz.
It's interesting how similar the models are.
If you remove ad revenue, the entire system breaks down. Most people don't want to pay for media content, so you're left with hobby enterprises and personal brand building where online celebs advertise their own content instead of someone else's.
It's hard to see how this would work, unless perhaps you had a new system where everyone was given a basic wage for free together with some redeemable reward points, and consumers could gift the projects and individuals whose work they liked with some of those points.
The points would be redeemable for basic necessities like studio time, media equipment leases, and so on, as well as optional extras like nice food and clothes.
What is true is that (a) people don't want to pay enough for media content to pay everyone who wants to make media content. And (b) people don't want to pay for bland, CNN-style content.
(a) is arguably a problem. (b) is, I would argue, not.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
If you remove ad revenue, the entire system breaks down. Most people don't want to pay for media content.
While many people are willing to pay something for content, I think that the overall point holds - quality content is more expensive than people are accustomed to paying. Given a more general prosperity, that might change, but without advertising the current system would die a rather quick death and I'm not sure how much beyond YouTube videos would survive.
Government is all about the pooling of resources to support socially worthy activities. I think TV, Magazines, and Newspapers are socially worthy activities, even in their current forms. Their evolution and expansion without the straightjackets imposed upon them by advertisers may well make them more so.
We don't expect a high-speed rail-network to get built on voluntary donations up-front. Why should we expect a quality entertainment and news ecology to be built for free?
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