“Could an in-home digital network have ads or is that sacred territory?”
Advertising can be defined in different ways. Selling traditional paid advertising on your screens probably isn’t happening on most higher education campuses, but I have heard of some doing it. Whereas, internally, we encourage departments to run content that “advertises” or features events or other opportunities available on campus that may not pertain directly to their area. Increasing communication across disciplines is always good. Leveraging your signage to maximize viewer interest is a winner all around.
*There is one place I think you could get away with sponsorships to help offset the operational costs of your in-home digital network, and that is sponsorship of the external paid elements you may have on your network. Things like sponsoring the weather, a sports feed, national news, etc. These sponsorships could simply say, “The weather is sponsored by ‘company X’.” Having a sponsorship is different from selling advertising in that there is no call to action for the company who is paying for the sponsorship. It could be easier to sell with the fact that you could sell a sponsorship for a week or a month and not have to do as intricate a proof of play that I feel you would have to do if you were selling advertising.