Day 01

Day one is in the can and that was kind of a lot of ads. We left my place and drove to Studio City, where we spent a little time on Ventura Boulevard, where we counted up about 40 ads. Keep in mind that I saw more (way more) than 40 ads, but I saw 40 unique ads.

I also browsed the news online, and was struck by how much screen real estate on so many news sites is actually devoted to ads. It made me curious, so I did some googling.

A small-scale study by Enders Analysis (from what I can tell, not related to Ender’s Game) which I read on Techdirt, found that between 18% and 79% of mobile data transferred to their phone was advertising. Think about that. How much do you pay for your mobile data per month? My cell plan is old, grandfathered, multi-line and unlimited, so it’s difficult to calculate the numbers for my me, but: T-Mobile (my carrier) are currently charging $45 for a new “unlimited” LTE data plan (this is just data — voice is a separate charge). If you go for that deal, and 79% of the data you pull down on your phone is ads, you’re paying $35.55 per month to download ads.

In the same vein, according to TNS Media Intelligence by way of MarketingCharts.com, who apparently know about these things, an average hour of television is now 36% advertisements. And according to Google, the average cable TV bill is $100 per month. Which makes the math on this one is really easy: The average cable subscriber is paying $36.00 per month just to deliver advertising to their TV. That number is also bizarrely close to the $35.55 number above. It’s like some sort of cabal of marketeers (Bohemian Grove? Trilateral Commission?) decided that the average consumer is comfortable wasting about $36 a month per service to deliver ads to their face. But I digress.

If you’ve got a smartphone and cable TV, you are paying for privilege of being advertised to. And in fact, you could be paying up to $864.00 per year, strictly to pay for the delivery of advertisements. Of course there’s another side to this coin, in that advertising funds content, and without advertising, much of the content that you and I enjoy would not exist. At least not in the same way that it does now… But is that a positive or negative thing? I hope we’ll examine that a little later.

So far, nothing major in my life is off limits. A couple brands of booze, but the world is full of booze brands, so that’s not really a big deal.

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