Will Blocking Ad Blockers Become Industrywide Practice?

Save what goes on with traditional video-on-demand, there is no blocking of viewer efforts to skip through TV commercials on existing, big-screen TV platforms. Viewers like that a lot; networks, not so much.

It’s a different story in the digital space. Savvy consumers have a variety of ad-blocking tools at their disposal, to avoid all kinds of messaging. But premium TV program providers can still counter this. CBS, for one, won’t let you see its digital programming if you’re using an ad blockers on certain browsers.

Other networks don’t bother with blocking the ad-blockers. Many executives say viewing of content and advertising through their own TV apps, or via connected TV apps, can’t be blocked by consumers anyway.

Reports say many of the top digital websites may be mulling the idea of banding together to try to block the ad blockers. (Would this bring up antitrust concerns, anybody?)

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has been considering this as well. Some suggest lawsuits could be filed against the ad-blocking technology companies, because, the belief goes, they are interfering with website activities.



"I advocated for the top 100 websites to, beginning on the same day, not let anybody with ad blockers turned on [to view their content]," said David Moore, president of WPP Digital and chairman of Xaxis, who also serves as chairman of the IAB Tech Lab's board of directors,  speaking to Advertising Age.

What if TV networks would do the same with traditional TV viewers when it comes to their time-shifting technology? Aren’t consumers also “ad-blocking” with technology?

Better still, should traditional TV networks consider suing time-shifting companies,and all pay TV companies who provide time-shifting technology? Aren’t they also interfering with the transmission of TV networks programming and advertising?

This won’t happen. Because big pay TV companies -- cable, satellite, and telecos -- now have stronger business ties to big media, paying carriage fees/retransmission fees in return for content.

So there’s the rub: How much ad blocking and skipping should consumers have control of in the future? And how will entire media industries factor into the picture?

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