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News Corp rolls out trial to deny access to users of ad-blockers

News Corp has followed through on its plans to block users of ad-blockers with pop-ups, suggesting users need to subscribe or white-list the website to access the content.

Last month Damian Eales, managing director of metro and regional publishing, told Mumbrella News Corp would be launching a trial to prevent ad-blocker users from accessing digital content.

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Eales: “Without [ads] we can’t afford to offer quality journalism”

“To be clear, ad blocking is a significant issue and it’s one that as an industry and as individual companies we need to tackle,” he told Mumbrella.

“We are funded by a combination of ads and subscription and without that business model we can’t afford to provide this [journalistic] service.”

The trial is restricted to The Daily Telegraph with readers prompted to subscribe or to “white-list” the website which allows users to list the site as being acceptable which means it will not have its advertising filtered by the ad-blocker.

News Corp adblock

This can often mean the advertising must meet criteria set by the ad-blocker, for example, AdBlock Plus has criteria around ad placement, ad distinction and ad size.

While News Corp is going down the route of blocking users of ad-blockers, Domain Group’s Melina Cruickshank has suggested this is not the right approach.

Speaking at Mumbrella360 earlier this month, Cruikshank said: “I don’t think you can tell them what to do and block them, they’ll just go elsewhere, there’s too much choice now.”

“These companies, they control a huge majority of the media in Australia, so educate, tell people what’s going on and tell them that strong, quality journalism in Australia… you’re going to have to pay for it. That’s the reality.

“I don’t think the option of blacklisting or blocking people is is the way to go; the consumer and the audience always comes first.”

News Corp’s trial is similar to one conducted by The New York Times in March.

The US-based news website began showing some ad-blocker users a pop-up asking to be white-listed or buy a digital subscription. It has since also conducted research into ad-blocker usage.

In May, the world’s largest ad-blocker Adblock Plus reached 100m users worldwide 

News Corp have been approached for comment.

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