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This is very similar to the online content model, where your 'service' - whether it's web searches, happy friend time or videos of cats chasing a laser pointer - is really just another tool for aggregating media consumers and selling the aggregation to advertisers.

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.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 05:15:11 PM EST
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It's not actually true that people don't want to pay for media content. Quite a number of people make a decent, though not extravagant, living off donations to freely provided online media.

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.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 06:04:42 PM EST
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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?

by Zwackus on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:51:05 PM EST
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