Ads are part of equa­tion

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Television - TIM MARTAIN

I DON’T re­ally un­der­stand why peo­ple com­plain about ad­ver­tis­ing so much.

While ads are an­noy­ing, they do serve an im­por­tant func­tion: they pay for the stuff you watch. But sadly, ad­ver­tis­ing is be­gin­ning to in­fil­trate places it never used to be found.

SBS had to re­sort to sell­ing ad­ver­tis­ing some time ago to bal­ance its op­er­at­ing costs and, with its con­tin­ued fed­eral gov­ern­ment fund­ing on shaky ground, you can prob­a­bly ex­pect to see a lit­tle more of it in the fu­ture.

Even some pay- TV net­works rely on ad­ver­tis­ing these days, much to the dis­gust of sub­scribers who as­sumed ( quite rea­son­ably) that by pay­ing a sub­scrip­tion for their TV con­tent would mean ad­ver­tis­ing wasn’t nec­es­sary.

And Youtube has started wedg­ing ad­ver­tis­ing into some of its more high­traf­fic chan­nels as well.

Nat­u­rally, users com­plained loudly about the com­mer­cial in­tru­sion ( on a free ser­vice no­body was forc­ing them to use) but the ads have stayed.

And, fun­nily enough, the world’s big­gest video- shar­ing web­site didn’t col­lapse un­der an ex­o­dus of dis­en­chanted users – peo­ple ac­cepted it, got over it, and got on with their lives.

Ads are an­noy­ing, that’s the point – if they’re not in­tru­sive, they won’t be no­ticed. If they’re not go­ing to be no­ticed, no­body’s go­ing to pay to advertise. Ad­ver­tis­ing is a nec­es­sary evil in the world of free me­dia. TV shows and on­line news­pa­pers don’t pro­duce them­selves and not ev­ery­one has gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

And for all the com­plaints about how ad­ver­tis­ing is flood­ing our elec­tronic me­dia these days, it isn’t any­thing new.

Free- to- air TV has been sub­sidised by ad­ver­tis­ing and spon­sor­ship prac­ti­cally since the first shows hit the air­waves. Although peo­ple gen­er­ally don’t like watch­ing ads, they have gen­er­ally been ac­cepted as part of the land­scape.

Stream­ing and down­load­ing con­tent on­line is be­com­ing more pop­u­lar as a way of watch­ing TV and movies in the in­ter­net age and TV net­works and pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies are learn­ing that there is lit­tle point try­ing to fight this.

They are learn­ing to em­brace it and use it. For it to be sus­tain­able, it also needs to be prof­itable.

TV net­works who stream se­lected shows on­line through ‘‘ catch- up’’ ser­vices are al­ready mak­ing this evo­lu­tion, of­fer­ing their con­tent for free on­line – all you have to do is watch one ad at the be­gin­ning of each seg­ment.

Se­ri­ously, that’s not ex­actly a hu­man­i­tar­ian atroc­ity is it?

If a few ads mean our TV and movie con­tent on­line con­tin­ues to be avail­able eas­ily and for free, it’s a small price to pay.

Free in­for­ma­tion and en­ter­tain­ment is great, but re­mem­ber there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Some­one has to pick up the tab, and ad­ver­tis­ing has been do­ing that for decades.

Speak­ing of lunch, it’s time for a word from our spon­sor . . .

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