German magazine blocks ad-blockers

adblockA German magazine empire has decided that the only way it can stop people from using ad-blockers is to ban them from reading its content.

Germany’s Axel Springer which apparently does not run a TV show where fat people punch each other and have sex with cake, has banned readers who use adblockers from its Bild tabloid website.

Springer said visitors to the website of Bild will be asked to switch off the adblocker or pay a monthly fee of $3.40 to browse the website mostly ad-free.

“Whoever does not switch off the adblocker or does not pay cannot see any content on Bild.de, as of now,” the publisher said in a statement on Tuesday.

Publishers are struggling with the increasing popularity of software that blocks the Web advertising that is key to maintaining or growing their revenue in the Internet age but which many users find intrusive or slows the loading of pages.

For example when you are reading a news story the last thing you want is a big screen which blocks you view demanding that you fill in a questionnaire.

Apparently the magazines are still listening to their advertising departments who think this is a good idea.

Some 200 million people used ad blockers last year, up 40 percent from a year earlier, resulting in $22 billion in lost advertising revenue, according to a study by Adobe and PageFair, an anti ad-blocking technology company.

 

Last year, Axel Springer received more than 1.5 billion euros in revenues from major advertisers and circulation.

However its 265,000 digital subscribers at the end of June who pay 4.99 euros per month for full access to the tabloid’s online content generate less than 20 million euros in annual sales.

Axel Springer changed the website of Bild to a so-called “freemium” model about two years ago, with some content remaining free and items such as exclusive interviews, stories and photos subject to a charge. Looks like that model didn’t work that well.

Last month Axel Springer lost a court case against German software firm Eyeo, which makes the Adblock Plus browser. In May a Munich court ruled in favour of the start-up in a case brought by ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL Group.

And the publisher of German newspapers Handelsblatt and Die Zeit lost a similar case in a Hamburg court. Several appeals are pending.