I was musing on how escalation is a driving force in cultural evolution.
Allow me to grossly oversimplify here:
The traditional method of a news paper making a profit was simple. Sell a paper for what it costs to make it, and some mark up. This method worked but in an effort to make more revenue Periodicals began to accept more and more money from advertising. This model worked until the advent and expansion of the internet.
With the internet the initial investment of a magazine, or newspaper was lost. In addition, the internet could do something that newspapers couldn’t, keep up with the 24 hour news cycle.
This loss of income was offset by the introduction of more and more add space on every page. Users then sought ways to disable these ads, mainly in the form of Ad Blocking programs.
This has led to promoted content. Content that is made to look and sound like a genuine part of whatever website you are on, but is actually an advertisement.
I wonder what the next development will be if this evolutionary arms race continues? Will the line between promoted and non-promoted content begin to blur?
One answer to this phenomena is the rise in subscription based but other wise advertising free services. Netflix represents a good example, as does Pornhub, as both are taking a business that has been run primarily on advertisements simply skipping the middle man of advertising to pay for it.
Is this the future, a subscription based paradise free from advertisement? Only time will tell.