I once heard an ads account PM put it this way: "If you have enough money to buy a no-ads tier, someone will pay more to put an ad there"
To a lesser extent you see it with magazines too, especially in the fashion space, where brands don't want to be in a "free" magazine, so the magazine has to charge a cover price, but they practically give away subscriptions since the cover price is not where they're making money.
I keep seeing this, but in the US this isn't really true. Cable TV was originally sold as a way to get all the surrounding broadcast TV stations in to your home with near perfect signal quality without needing an antenna. This meant you would get all the ads those broadcast networks aired. Sure, cable networks did not inject additional ads, but there were still ads. It took a while before premium cable-only channels arrived, some of which touted being ad-free. But even then many of those premium channels had advertising from the beginning.
Ads were on cable TV since the get go.
In the dawn of time, also known as my childhood, there were 2 channels. Then 3. TV's had dials and it was my job, like so many other youngest children, to turn them. Then cable came and there were a lot of channels. So many channels you needed the newspaper's TV schedule to figure out what to watch. No more flipping between 2 or 3 channels hoping for something better. Planned viewing had arrived. No more sitting by the TV, spinning through channels, and getting clouted for spinning to fast because you'll break it! And finally, freeing children everywhere from the tyranny of the dial, remote control! No longer chained to the TV, children could return to lounging on the comfy family room chesterfields.
Never forget that cable, and the TV remotes it spawned, freed millions of children from spinning TV dials!
It was amazing.
Of course the wire was about 2 feet too short. So it was still my job to sit on the floor and in the middle of the room to be the “wireless” portion of the remote. But still, was so much better than having to walk up every 5 minutes (my dad loved making me flip channels during commercials, even though often commercials were often synced between abc, nbc, and cbs). But then came PBS
Those were the days
(the archie bunker theme)
Now that I don’t have cable but DO have an antenna (and Plex) I still like reruns of mash, gomer pile, Andy Griffith to fall asleep to etc. I wish they would throw Sanford and son in the mix!
People were assuming because they were paying for Television there would be no (or at least less) ads. The article then states that there was $45 million in cable advertising vs $11 billion in traditional. I think those numbers alone make it pretty clear advertising was not at the top of the (at the time) nascent industry's mind. And, while this is only a guess its probably safe to assume the bulk of that $45 million went to at most a handful of "innovative" (vomits in mouth) cable companies.
And yeah, advertising revenues weren't nearly as huge for cable networks at the beginning. The first cable networks started operations in the 50s, and you're sharing an article written in '81 pretty much showcasing that there were only a few cable-only TV stations at the time. At the beginning there were zero cable-only TV stations, and that was how it was for about 30 years. All channels you got on cable were just the broadcast stations. Many years later they started adding cable-only stations with some of those stations having advertising and some of them without.
The first real cable-only TV channel was HBO, which was without ads. The second real cable-only TV station was WTBS, which had ads (it was a nearly nation-wide rebroadcast of Ted Turner's broadcast TV station, so only semi-only-cable?) and started on cable in 1976. After that there was Christian Broadcasting Network which was ad-free. In 1979 we got Nickeloden and ESPN (ads), in 1980 we got CNN and USA (ads).
If anything, it's the most measurable of (non-interactive) video ads, since the viewer's future engagement with the advertised show (correcting for the baseline expected viewership among subscribers not shown that ad) can be attributed to the advertisement itself.
And if retention can then be attributed to engagement, there's a monetary value for that ad space, which goes back to the grandparent post's sentiment: "someone will pay more to put an ad there."
I don't think I can agree with this. While I don't like pre-roll mini-trailers (or even full trailers), the fact that I've chosen to pay for the service is a pretty strong hint that I'd like to know what offerings they have. The obvious alternative is to provide me with good discovery tools so that I never miss anything myself. I prefer that, but I don't think that the pre-rolls really violate a "no advertising" model.
It's certainly better than NPR/PBS's interpretation of "no advertising", which I was told in the 90s is essentially just "no quality adjectives".
The interesting part to this is that once the competition is heavily saturated with ads, having no ads gives you a distinctive edge over them.
The thing that interests me the most is how ads can significantly degrade the quality of the product itself. This is really apparent with Amazon, where their ad platform not only pushed up the visibility of very low quality products but also made their seller ecosystem dependent on them. Amazon’s search results are their content, which are now ads. In order to outbid competitors, you need to increase your margins, which you do by selling a shittier product. I suspect we will see a similar thing happen to Apple’s App Store over time.
Already the terrible curation makes it hard to find any quality content in Apple's App Store. (I'll never understand why it's so hard to get a search for the exact name of an app to return that app first.) I shudder to imagine how bad it could be if they were incentivised to make it bad.
Preroll ads are only there because they haven't found advertisers willing to pay them enough yet. It does mean they have the infrastructure there, waiting and ready, and ad / data engineers getting data from ad viewership and rudimentary conversion numbers, which they can then use to sell ads.
It'll be there soon.
At least on my services, they are just short trailers, never annoying ads like Progressive's. And if I'm not interested, there's always a Skip button. I'm paying for this service, I want to know what upcoming shows are coming. I don't mind if this helps with their internal metrics.
Now I do object to the actual 5-10 min of ads I subjected to in the movie theater.
Amazon Prime paid channel subscriptions don't let you skip the previews for that channel. (At least, that is true for Paramount+.)
There's a market for subscriptions. Unfortunately you have to provide a really fucking great product.
And most of these companies don't.
Why do you doubt it? I've read that extension creators are constantly bombarded with offers to package just a little malware in their extension; surely the same is true of ads. If you're just a hobbyist developer—and that's where the best extensions come from—surely it's too much to expect that you'll resist that pressure forever.
So there is always a significant risk even the author declines all the offers for cashing out.
But again, your awesome extension in which you poured so many hours is not the problem, it's just affected by the problem.
I assume that everyone who makes useful extensions like this does so out of good will. But I also assume that it is possible for a good person to tire of maintaining a piece of software, and want to pass on control, and to allow themselves to see the upside of an appealing and lucrative offer and believe that the worst won't come. And I can't blame a person who does this—they certainly don't owe me anything.
1. The creator of the VLC media player was apparently offered "tens of millions" of euros to insert ads. Thus, if your software is sufficiently widely used, that is the kind of temptation you may eventually face.
2. He said no. So there do exist people who will resist such temptation.
Citation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15372048 and the link chain therefrom
I've seen opportunities to subscribe to podcasts for $$, which irritated me, but that's it.
Yeah, that's an ad. It's even in the sentence.
(Disclosure: I work for Google, speaking only for myself)
+ selling information gleaned from consumption habits (e.g. song choice on Spotify, etc.)
Don't necessarily have to target on the platform itself.