Hank and I have always felt varying degrees of discomfort supporting our YouTube videos with advertisements. We don’t control the content of the ads or who sponsors our shows, and many times we disagree with the advertisers.
I do not, for instance, think gold is a good investment, or that Obama is a terrible President, or that sexy geeks are just a click away. I also don’t particularly enjoy being supported by for-profit universities, oil companies, and Super PACs.
Recently, some nerdfighters have been upset about ads they’ve seen on vlogbrothers videos, and we share their concern. But these videos are a big part of our jobs—we spend a lot of time making them and trying to be good leaders of this community—and while there are other ways we make money (t-shirts, books, music, etc.), the ad revenue is a vital part of how I buy diapers.
But it’s not really that much money relative to the size of nerdfighteria, because online advertising rates are so low. Even so, I still think that most nerdfighters would rather glimpse an ad than use kickstarter or something to create a delightfully ad-free world of vlogbrothers. But with ad rates pretty stagnant and the success of kickstarter projects like Ze Frank’s, I’m beginning to wonder A. if I’m wrong, and B. if creators of online video might find themselves turning to new models of supporting their work rather than continuing to seek corporate patronage. Also, C. these days, I find myself personally more inclined to support online video projects and their creators directly.
Mostly, I’m curious what you think. Do you want to watch stuff supported by ads, or supported directly by viewers? Are there youtube channels (not just vlogbrothers or crashcourse or scishow but any YouTube channels) you’d give $5 or $10 or more per year? Or do you like the current system and believe that advertising should continue to play the central role in visual media funding it has since the earliest days of television?
(couldn’t say it in 140 or fewer so…)
I would definitely prefer viewer-supported material, but I think a lot of good content would disappear if kickstarter projects became the main form of funding for these things.
I don’t have a lot of faith in viewers, even though I’ve seen the wonders of Nerdfighteria. That and what about new content creators? Like right now, if I decided to start a vlog or skit channel or whatever, it would be really unlikely that I’d get more than 100 views. Not because I’d be boring, but because of the vast abyss that is online video.
Also, I’m a student and I just took on my first $10,000 in loans and financial aide. By the time I get my Bachelors I’ll have accumulated like $45,000 in debt. My plan to pay it off is to get a job as soon as possible and mooch off my parents for a year while using my entire salary to cut the debt.
If I had money to spare it would go to food and rent first, then savings, then charities, then entertainment (if I stuck to my morals, which lets face it, I probably won’t do because I’m a terrible person).
If I had total control of my funds (no huge debts, no medical issues, no parents guilting me into saving for their retirement and a house for me when I get old), then yeah, I’d probably be happy to throw in more than $10 year. Pshhh, I’d probably be overjoyed and proud and happy and whatnot.
I like being able to support things I love, I just can’t right now, not monetarily.
I won’t be able to until I’ve like, moved out on my own and am allowed to make my own decisions.
I think advertising is unfortunately still the present. We aren’t ready to drop it totally.
We might, however, be able to change it a bit… maybe we could do a hybrid model where we can decide what adverts we want to allow on our content… I don’t know.
I don’t like the current system but right now I don’t know how to change it satisfactorily.