Ad-blocking poses 'existential threat' to free online video



| 10 August 2015

The global online sector is due to lose nearly $22 billion in adverting revenue in 2015 due to ad-blocking technology, an Adobe and PageFair study has revealed.

The joint report, The Cost of Ad-blocking, details the global state of ad-blocking and what its rapid growth means for the future of the Internet publishing and advertising, and found that overall the number of ad-block users worldwide has increased by 41% in the past 12 months. It estimates that the now 198 million monthly active ad-block users will deny the industry $21.8 billion in advertising revenues in 2015, $10.7 billion in the US alone. This figure is set to almost double by 2016 when the global cost of ad-blocking is expected to reach $41.4 billion.

With many websites impacted with up to 27% lost ad inventory, the report suggest that ad-blocking now poses an existential threat for the future of free content on the Internet. Driving the spike is the trend towards more mobile use of ad-blockers which hitherto had been concentrated on desktop browsers. This was especially prevalent in Asia and is set to accelerate globally in September when the ability to block ads is introduced to iOS.

"It is tragic that ad-block users are inadvertently inflicting multi-billion dollar losses on the very websites they most enjoy," commented PageFair CEO and co-founder Sean Blanchfield. "With ad-blocking going mobile, there's an eminent threat that the business model that has supported the open web for two decades is going to collapse.

"By working with PageFair, our goal with this research is to shed light on the effects of ad-blocking so the industry can develop better solutions for content publishers, advertisers and consumers alike," added Campbell Foster, director of product marketing for video solutions at Adobe.