The next wave of ad blocking is arriving, slowly

The creeping adoption of ad blocking will only continue to expand in the coming months, an ongoing shift that will have a middling effect on revenue for news organizations that rely on digital display advertising.

That's according to a new report from Digital Content Next, a trade organization with a membership comprising some of the most recognizable names in news: The New York Times, The Associated Press and CBS, to name a few. The report, an analysis of consumer outlook on blockers, falls short of describing the trend in apocalyptic terms but admonishes publishers to figure out a way forward sooner rather than later.

"On a scale of one to ten, my concern is at a level eight or nine – our industry has ignored consumer concerns and now these same consumers are speaking up by installing ad blocking software,” Jason Kint, the CEO of Digital Content Next, said in a release. "We need leaders across the industry to focus on providing better experiences, transparency and controls that will solve this issue."

About a third of consumers have indicated that they're likely to try out ad blocking within the next three months, according to the report. This could translate to into another 9 percent of ad blocker installs in the short-term, which the report says will have a "proportional but significantly smaller" impact on the financial welfare of publishers. The report cautions that number could be accelerated by a variety of factors, including the adoption of ad blockers across major companies.

Concerns about the rise of ad blocking increased among publishers earlier this year, when Apple's iOS9 update enabled users of its devices to install the software. That hand-wringing proved to be somewhat premature, according to Nieman Lab, which earlier this month talked to a variety of publishers about strategies for dealing with the uptick.

In a look at the rise of persistent mobile advertising Wednesday, The New York Times noted that the number of consumers who install ad blocking software on their phones is increasing.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.


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