Now…Another Music-Free Commercial Sweep

This was always a running gag for us in music radio. The battle between art (us) and commerce (them) raged endlessly. The challenge of balancing the wants and needs of both of our customers, listeners who want more music and clients who want more ad space, was the topic of 95% of management disagreements.

This argument is one that rages on in all forms of advertiser supported media. I dare say it comes up in the halls at PBS or NPR as well…though in a much more civilized fashion (He says with tongue planted firmly in cheek.).

Just look at TV. There’s what, 20 minutes of “show” in a 30 minute program? And the newspaper, well just take a look at the before and after pictures of our local Sunday paper once the circulars are pulled out….

Then of course those subscription cards, fold outs, scratch and sniff, and regular ads in a magazine that will drive you nuts. There are even a growing number of ads at the start of a movie at the local Superplex 28 Cinema. How about the average website? Well ya know…most aren’t too bad thanks to hyperlinks, unless of course it’s the website of one of the other media outlets mentioned above.

For traditional media, what is the right amount of ad space? What is the deciding factor on how many spots you can air or ads you can cram on the page? The answer…it depends.

It depends on the content. How compelling is it? If it’s fantastic you can run more ads, if it sucks…well…don’t give me another excuse to bail. It also depends on choice. Caution: with so many choices of media, even the best content can be dwarfed by too many ads if some other outlet has good content and fewer ads. As the battle rages on between art vs. commerce be sure and note that it’s a new, much smaller, world. There is more…allot more…choice.

So, what’s your content to ad ratio? Make sure you don’t make it too easy for your viewers, listeners, or users to choose someone else.

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