No Pro-Roll Please, The Ad Blockers Say

We’ll never get rid of advertising, but it seems that once the data start rolling in, there are a lot of people who keep trying. It’s not like advertising people are like journalists--liars, biased, stupid, self-loathing--but a lot of viewers don’t like the commercials that advertising people help deliver.

Reportedly, 31% of YouTube users employed an ad blocker last month, and that percentage goes up the younger the user. For 16-24s, it’s up to 36% and for 25-34s, it’s 35%. But even among the hopeless decrepit YouTubers aged 55 to 64, a full 21% are blocking YouTube pre-roll, according to

Maybe that's another good reason for YouTube to start its premium, ad-free version, though I have my doubts people will spend much per month to get what they once got for free--and what seems almost emblematic of the "free" spirit of online video.



Amid all the video related stats that show yearly double-digit increases, add this one: Between June 2013 and June 2014, AdBlock Plus subscriptions increased 70% worldwide, to 144 million. A report by PageFair and Adobe says 28% of U.S. Internet population uses AdBlockPlus. And the trend line is going up.

A report by Adobe’s Matthew Roberts last year pointed out a bigger underlying problem with viewer avoidance of ads.

“While content producers expect to be compensated, it is difficult to attract consumers to content if they are forced to pay for it. This creates a dilemma that has been typically solved through advertising, an age-old solution that provides “free” content to consumers by giving it away with strings attached. But now ad blocking is cutting those strings, and it is up to marketers to find the sweet spot between these polar opposites.

"In our study, we asked 1,600 participants about their willingness to receive advertisements packaged with the content they consume. Sixty-one percent of respondents stated they were completely unwilling to receive such advertisements, yet only 20% of respondents stated they would be willing to pay some sort of fee for an ad-free experience.”

So that’s a problem. Roberts says research shows there is some willingness--like, people are not totally hateful--toward text message advertising or skippable ads of the sort YouTube offers (unless you have AdBlock Plus).

A report just out today from the Interactive Advertising Bureau is getting headlines today because it points out that smart TVs and streaming is truly gaining mass appeal, but significantly, 50% of the users say they prefer online TV better than the old-fashioned kind because there are fewer commercials, and 40% volunteering they find online advertising less the intrusive.

But it’s also true about three-quarters of these people watch Netflix on their smart TVs, so they are getting a good dose of un-commercial content and Netflix, as its latest financials just showed, continues to grow. And as mentioned, so does Ad Block Plus
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