Would You Pay To Avoid Online Ads?

It’s fascinating to see to what degree consumers like to stress to advertisers that they don’t like them.  

But like a lover that won’t take no for an answer and keeps hanging around—a stalker, actually-- advertisers try all kinds of things to convince viewers to like them.

Sometimes they work.

But really, advertisers, at the user end, people just aren’t that into you.

This isn’t new information, of course. But lately, in Great Britain did some calculating and figured out that for 140 British pounds a year, UK users could be free of online advertising.

That’s based on taking the number of users (45 million) and dividing that into the 6.3 billion pounds advertisers spent online in 2013.

Then they asked users if they’d pay that amount, which is the equivalent of about $232 US.

And 98% said no.

Which, you’d think, was a triumph for advertisers, while, in fact, it’s really a victory for pragmatism. They’d rather be fed advertising than spend money to get rid of them.   



The Ebuzzing survey asked 1,200 UK users about their advertising behavior and 63% said they skip ads as quickly as possible, a percentage than rises to 75% for users between the ages of 16 and 24.

“Over a quarter of all respondents said they mute their sound and one in five scroll away from the video. Sixteen per cent use ad blocking software and 16% open a new browser window or tab,“ said a story in the Telegraph.

Ebuzzing also found 77% of mobile app users never upgrade to paid versions. So they’d rather endure the ads than pay to avoid them.

It should also be noted, Britons already pay the equivalent of about $240 a year as a license to get the BBC, just about the online fee. (But, basically, they are requiredd to pay for the BBC.)

(Ebuzzing didn’t do a similar survey in the U.S., a spokeswoman says.)

But here, or there, paying to avoid advertising just doesn’t sell. It’s not a new idea, either.

In 2002, when the television industry was certain that DVRs were going to ruin their business model, Jamie Kellner, a pretty smart mediahead and then the chairman of Turner Broadcasting  Systems, proposed that viewers who wanted to use DVRs to avoid ads should pay $250 a year for the right.

 “[Skipping ads is] theft” he told CableWorld Magazine, as quoted on  “Your contract with the network when you get the show is that you’re going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn’t get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial … you’re actually stealing the programming.”

Now that cable providers are beginning (usually clumsily)  to find a way to monetize video on demand, probably everybody involved with DVRs wish they’d go away.  But they haven’t altered the economics of TV that much, judged by TV revenues since 2002. The networks struggle only in the haziest definition of the word.

And forever, networks have charged sponsors more to be the first or last spot in a commercial pod, presuming that’s the best opportunity advertisers have to capture viewers as they click-away or click-back.

Like I said, people hate advertising, except, curiously for many ads that are so long they don’t seem like “regular” commercials at all, or for advertisers that become whole channels, like RedBull TV available on a jillion devices—and with 3.7 million subscribers on YouTube.   


2 comments about "Would You Pay To Avoid Online Ads? ".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, August 21, 2014 at 2:50 p.m.

    DVRs make it easier to avoid commercials, for sure. A storm took out my two-tuner TiVo the other night and now I have a new 4-tuner Roamio that REALLY kills commercials, even during live shows if I switch back-and-forth between buffered shows. Nearly-live is much the same as actually-live.

  2. Anni Paul from BoscoSystems, August 21, 2014 at 3:56 p.m.

    Over time, as mobile and online ads become better targeted and more pertinent to those behind their desktop and mobile screens, the irritation factor of digital ads will begin to fade. It already is --

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