Burriss on Media: Internet Ad

Sep 30, 2013

Dr. Larry Burriss
Credit mtsu.edu

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  -- Remember back when all we had was over-the-air television, and everything was advertiser sponsored?  We were told that the reason we had all of those free programs was because of advertising. 
    Fast forward to the development of the internet.  You may pay a nominal amount to a service provider, but for the most part access is free.  Why?  Just like the early days of television, because of the ads.
    But for most of us, those ubiquitous ads are a nuisance.  They pop up in the middle of what we’re reading, the “close” button is often impossible to find, and they make us wait 30 seconds before we can watch a video.  Sure, they “pay the freight” for most Internet content, but they are also mightily intrusive.
    So, what if you could get rid of the ads?  Would you do it?  What if everyone got rid of all the ads?  How would the content then be funded?
    These questions are not as far-fetched as they may sound.  There are numerous software programs that block most ads, but there is also a new piece of hardware that sits between your modem and your computer, and totally blocks every ad before it reaches your screen.
    This device, which is available for around $120 dollars, has been praised by some as a giant step forward for control of the Internet by users, or by others as the death toll for free content.
    So back to a variation on our original question:  if you could block all of the ads, how much would you then be willing to pay for all of the content you use?  All of that content costs someone, somewhere, a lot of money to produce and distribute, and someone, somewhere, has to pay for it. 
    We’ve often said that media content is totally in the hands of media consumers.  It’s been true for movies, television, radio, magazines and newspapers.  And it may soon be true for the Internet as well.
    I’m Larry Burriss.