Is your internet browsing experience blissfully undisturbed by ads? Do you have ad-blocking software installed on your internet browser to keep all those pesky roll down ads and banners out of sight?
On Thursday, Times of India, Hindustan Times, Live Hindustan and Amar Ujala implented a feature which disallowed you to read most of their news articles if you had ad-blocking extensions on your browser. These sites will not let you go past their main page and access any articles or headlines unless you first turned off ad blocker and let their ads be seen.
On Friday, NDTV, Dainik Bhaskar and India Today joined the wagon. Now you will be unable to access their content without viewing their ads either.
While some publications will only allow you to view stories on their main page, others will only let you see the first paragraph of the story unless you turn the ad-blockers off.
If not, readers received the following message:
Pranav Dixit, in an article for FactorDaily, explains that while this is a first for India, the practice has been fairly common abroad with publications like Forbes and Wired having asked their readers to turn off ad blockers as well.
â€śAdvertising, driven by page views, is the primary source of revenue for almost all major Indian publishers, so losing out on eyeballs as a result of ad-blockers has a direct impact on the bottomline. But ad-blocking advocates say that the reasons to block ads are more than just making web pages look better cosmetically â€” blocking ads often means that pages load dramatically faster, and protect usersâ€™ privacy by blocking tracking cookies in addition to ads,â€ť he explains.
The FactorDaily report also mentioned Indian Express as one of the publications which would be blocking content for ad block users. So far however, its web version remains accessible with an active ad blocking extension.
India had the second highest number of people who use ad-blockers by March 2016, according to PageFair, an analytics platform.
Digital advertising is a rapidly growing space. This year itself, a GroupM study predicted that it will grow at a pace of 47.5% -- higher than advertising in all other spaces including print. With digital ad expenditure estimated to be 12.7% of all ad spending this year, it appears that media giants want to ensure that their advertisers get all the eyeballs they pay for.