So, I learned another thing today about Skype for Desktop - there is a "Compact View".  I didn't know that - I tried to disable the panel with the big video ads, but if you look at the View menu, there's checkboxes next to Skype Home and Profile, so I thought you should just uncheck them, but the checkboxes actually act like radio buttons, in that you must have one selected.  I didn't even notice the "Compact View" option just a bit further down.  So, now I can tolerate the smaller banner ad in compact view.  Acceptable.  I apologize for not realizing that sooner.