Ad industry debacle could kill your favorite TV shows, net sites

As companies experience sharp drops in sales, some are tightening the advertising budget. While in the short run fewer ads will make television watching and web browsing a little more pleasant, if it persists you can say goodbye to a lot of your favorite free entertainment and services.

For better or worse, the Internet has evolved away from a pay model to advertising-supported free content, which was dandy during flush economic times. Times are no longer flush, though, and, some of your favorites sites, writers, and entertainment could soon disappear. Sites make money not just from running ads, but also by selling information about you to marketers who want to reach a specific audience. The recession has made ad dollars scarcer, and Internet companies are slashing budget as a result. What if your Facebook, your Linkedin, your Google Docs, your YouTube, your Craigslist or your Flickr began to charge a monthly fee?