The ad-blocking war is escalating, as one of the world’s biggest publishers is blocking online access to Europe’s biggest tabloid for visitors who have enabled ad-blocking software on their devices.
German media conglomerate Axel Springer is lowering the boom on ad blockers that are trying to see content from Bild, a staple of gossip and celebrity media with a print circulation of 2.5 million.
Ad-blocker users are met with a notice asking them to switch off the ad-blocking program or become a subscriber to Bild, at a cost of around $3.40 per month. In a statement on its corporate blog, the publisher explained that publishers must monetize their content in some way in order to pay for journalism and other types of content.
Bild’s move comes not long after Apple’s rollout of iOS 9 caused consternation because it enabled mobile ad blocking. (Apple subsequently removed several ad-blocking apps from its app store but new ones quickly emerge to fill the space.)
Ad blocking was a major topic of conversation at MediaPost’s recent Publishing Insider Summit, where attendees noted that Germany is leading the way in ad-blocking adoption. Although no one presented explanations for why this might be, it is likely the result of a confluence between tech-savvy consumers and a widespread cultural concern for privacy stemming from the country’s history.
Attendees at the MediaPost summit vowed to defeat ad blockers, although it’s not clear how this can be accomplished without sacrificing other elements of the business. Simply blocking the blockers, as Bild has done, is only effective for a short time, as ad-blocking software programmers quickly adapt to the new system.
Other methods mentioned include “hard coding” ads into the site or serving all content through an ad server.