While this is not directly related to Ad Blocking, I want to recommend a recent segment of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” focused on the slow-motion death of American newspapers. Host John Oliver noted that between 2004 and 2014 newspaper print adverting fell $30 billion with the $1.5 billion in new digital advertising not nearly offsetting the loss.
This is the best defense of American newspapers that I’ve seen. It is nearly 20 minutes long, available on YouTube, and well worth the time spent watching.
Oliver paints a pretty grim future for journalism in a country without newspapers, much like what the U.S. is already becoming. Between 2003 and 2013, the number of state house reporters fell by 35 percent. Who will watch over government corruption if newspapers do not?
The other bad news is that readers, who are not used to paying for content, have yet to develop a willingness to pay. This is especially true in mid-sized communities where the potential audience is limited and per-reader costs are high.
Here’s how this related to ad blocking: When Google, Microsoft and others pay to be “white-listed” by ad blocking software, that takes resources that could better be invested into content.
When readers install ad blocking software, advertisers find it more difficult to reach readers and publishers do not get paid for ads that are never seen, threatening their ability to offer free content to readers.
MGID is fighting ad blocking and we hope everyone who cares about free content will join us. We also encourage readers to consider paying for content you find valuable, as that may be the only way newspapers and great journalism can survive.