I like the idea of equal handouts to all, and flat taxes personally.
No arguing about deductions etc., simply everyone gets $X every month (no matter what they're income), and everybody pays X% on everything (ideally consumption, as it helps with trade imbalance and saving rate which are both very bad in the US).
The tax would work out greatly negative for the poorest, somewhere approaching neutral at some level, and approaching the actual percentage as one got wealthier.
Additionally, it would cheat and tax accrued generational wealth that is currently tax free, which is of course why we will never go to a consumption tax.
They don't need to appeal to the masses, they need to appeal to the loyal fanbase. They get more money per a show-viewer (in general) than adverts produce, and people pay because they want those shows.
HBO costs $300/year. that's 150 hours of prime subject watch (Grey's anatomy viewership numbers came out to their viewing demographic, which was ideal to advert to, being worth about $2 an hour).
that's 75 shows watched by 2 people (or 35 if you count the movie content as having some value, though most HBO subscriber I know don't really).
People who purchased HBO for the Saprano's alone (many did) paid a hefty amount of money, and it encouraged HBO to appeal to that type of audience.
The economist is very similar. The problem is that most "news" organizations went to pulp, as subscriptions were never about making money, they were generally break-even on distribution, or close to it. Very few publications had the pay for good content business model, and they are easy to spot, as they were never ad-heavy.