The UK’s culture secretary John Whittingdale has weighed into the ongoing debate about ad-blocking by accusing vendors of ad-blocking software and services of operating a “modern-day protection racket.”
Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, he said that the UK government would support online publishers in their quest against vendors of ad-blocking software. He also added that he will set up a round-table group involving publishers, social media platforms and ad-blocking companies to discuss the problem.
He added that his “natural political instinct is that self-regulation and co-operation is the key to resolving these challenges”, however he warned that the UK government would intervene if it warranted intervention.
His comments came hot on the heels of a new research report from the IAB UK which indicated that ad-blocking is continuing to grow in the UK with some 22% of adults using some form of ad-blocking software.
According to the IAB UK research, 18-24 year olds, or 47% of those surveyed, were amongst the biggest users of ad-blockers while those aged between 45-54 (16%) were the least likely to block ads.
The survey found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents who had downloaded ad blocking software said they received requests from online publishers asking them to turn off the ad-blocking software in order to proceed reading the content. Around 54% said that, in certain situations, they would switch off their ad-blocking software if it was the only way to access content. This rose to 73% of 18-24 year olds.