Business News Media

Culture minister calls ad-blocking technology a “modern-day protection racket”

By | Published on Monday 7 March 2016

John Whittingdale

The government’s Culture Secretary John Whittingdale last week hit out at ad-blocking technologies during a speech at the Oxford Media Convention, dubbing some of the companies making such software a “modern-day protection racket”.

The use of technology to block out ads online isn’t especially new, but the media sector in particular has become more vocal on the use of such software of late, partly as more people seek to block the ads on free-to-access websites, and partly as publishers become ever more reliant on their online rather than print operations. Though Whittingdale noted that the use of ad-blocking tech affected the wider content industries too, including free-to-access music services like YouTube.

According to The Guardian, the minister said: “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. Ten years ago, the music and film industries faced a threat to their very existence from online copyright infringement by illegal file-sharing or pirate sites” he noted, and now ad-blocking technology posed a “similar threat”.

But Whittingdale isn’t advocating the outlawing of such tech – perhaps aware such bans are incredibly hard to enforce – though he hopes to encourage some self-regulation by those companies making and distributing the software, with a particular focus on those ad-blocker makers offering to ‘white-list’ specific ad networks or publishers in return for payment. The minister says he plans to bring together different stakeholders to discuss the issues and seek a voluntary solution.



READ MORE ABOUT:

GET CMU NEWS BY EMAIL DAILY FIND OUT ABOUT UPCOMING CMU EVENTS