Culture Sec Whittingdale says ad-blocker software are 'challenge that has to be overcome'

Some ad-blocking companies are "depriving" many websites and platforms of "legitimate income", Culture SecretaryJohn Whittingdale said today.

He had heard "a lot of concern" expressed about the expansion of ad-blockers, he told the Oxford Media Convention.

This week a report said that one in five Britons now use ad-blocking software whilst browsing the internet.

"Some of the ad-blocking companies are drawing up their own rules of acceptable advertising or offering to list providers in return for payment," the Culture Secretary went on.

"Many see such practices as akin to a modern day protection racket," Whittingdale said, adding that this practice was "depriving many websites and platforms of legitimate revenue".

He went on: "It is having an impact across the value chain, and it presents a challenge that has to be overcome.

"Because – quite simply – if people don't pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist.

"And that's as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the new album from Muse."

Commercial TV, radio, newspaper websites, streaming services, search engines and many game apps all relied on advertising, The Maldon MP told the convention, adding: "In some cases, they also receive subscription payments from a small minority who are willing to pay to avoid advertisements.

"The newspaper, music, film and games industry are all having to adapt to a world in which consumers are no longer as willing to pay as their parents were."

In "almost every case", advertising revenue now played an "essential part" in new business models, Whittingdale said, adding: "I am not suggesting that we should ban ad-blockers but I do share the concern about their impact.

"I plan to host a roundtable with representatives from all sides of the argument to discuss this in the coming weeks."

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