There’s an increasing trend for consumers to avoid ads when viewing online content. Most young people know how to install an ad blocker on their devices to avoid having to see ads at all.

The globalisation of media content has raised the bar for all media outlets. The smallest have to compete with the largest for their market share of attention, but the larger outlets have much larger budgets for content creation. This makes it harder for independent content creators and journalists to grow and be heard over the larger ones.

Privacy laws are becoming much more stringent. Recent changes (e.g. GDPR, CCPA) make it much more difficult for online companies to collect and sell data about the people using their services, which has usually been a reasonable compromise between consumer and service provider until now.

Lastly, there’s an increasing expectation from consumers that online content will be available to them free of charge.

So increasingly, people are demanding higher quality content, available free of charge, with no obvious interruption from ads, and no data about them being collected and stored. These competing forces are at odds with each-other, and something has to give way.

The high-end publications (e.g. The Economist) have opted for a subscription-based model. Other platforms continue to ride the CPC ad wave, for the limited time it has left. More ominous though, are the publications that are keeping themselves alive through funding from interest groups or state funding.

The concentration of media ownership is gradually shrinking the sources of significant ideation globally.

Consumers should bear in mind that nothing comes to them free. If they are not willing to pay for a service, they give something else up in return for it.

If you are not the buyer, and you are not the farmer, you are the cow.