The skyscraper ad being on the right hand side makes sense to the layout of the site. Everyone starts reading from left to right, so the ad is instinctively in the way of your eye instead of the content. I might contribute to a subscription. 20 bucks for 6 months does seem really high, though.
I also notice that the classic TNL themes aren't available anymore. Maybe that could be an additional feature for the payed members?