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Consumers like “ad-free” but won’t pay for it

This Magazine Staff

This recent dispatch from Reuters reports that although consumers love commercial-free radio and television programming, they really don’t want to pay for it.
So, this doesn’t bode well for commercial-free sattellite radio services such as Sirius and XM, who did extensive market research that revealed consumers were clamouring for their service. Turns out when it comes time to subscribe, most people balk.
Could be that we’re just unsure about the quality of the content, though. “People are not buying HBO because it doesn’t have ads, they are buying it because they want to watch the Sopranos,” no-brains advertising industry veteran Chuck Porter at last week’s Reuters Media and Advertising Summit.
I wonder whether that bodes ill for the future of ad-free print media. There are only a handful of successful ad-free magazines (Adbusters, Sun), the virtually ad-frees number much higher and all must rely on reader support beyond the ticket price to survive. If this trend with tv and radio spills into print, will magazines have to move towards “generational subscription prices” — discounting for under-25-year-olds?

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