Advertising is still at the heart of media freedom

There's something of a controversy over the Dish Network's technology that automatically skips over advertising on content recorded on their DVR system.  It's been the focus of Dish's advertising program as well as a Congressional investigation on the Future of Video.  Most people are pretty thrilled with the technology and it is boon to Dish.  

I am a devotee of blasting through commercial breaks with my DVR and I'm a little envious of Dish subscribers who have the tech, although I'm very happy with Direct TV over anything else I've tried (AT&T doesn't service my area with their system).  Here, however, is where the controversy rages.

Dish is dropping AMC and a half dozen other channels over increasing fees, claiming there are nbot enough viewer to warrant the increase.  The problem is all the channels Dish is dropping are also subsidized by advertising and he advertisers are balking at pay rates for commercials that people never see.  The channels we are talking about produce some of the best programming on the planet and are award winners.  The network fees and advertising revenue are what makes it possible for them to continue doing that.

I hate commercials as much as the next guy but the reality is that advertising still finances most of our media.  The more we make advertising ineffective the more we are going to have to pay for good programming... unless of course you like reality shows.

That goes for stuff other than TV.  A few years ago there was a study put out that found that engineers got most of their information about new products from news releases.  That immediately got marketing folks in engineering-instensive industries to give up altogether on advertising and just putting out press releases.  What everyone ignored in that study was the reason they got most of their information from news releases is that there wasn't any other source of information easily found on the web... because everyone was cutting back on advertising which reduced the amount of third-party information about products.  You know, journalism.

So even though I don't like most advertising I keep remembering what it is there for:  To keep me informed as well as entertained.  We should all keep that im mind.