Culture secretary vows to protect publishers from ad blocking ‘protection racket’

By John Glenday | Reporter

March 4, 2016 | 2 min read

Culture secretary John Whittingdale has come out in support of publishers against the rise of ad blockers, describing the software as a ‘modern day protection racket’.

John Whittingdale, Ad blockers

Speaking to the Oxford Media Convention Whittingdale pledged to support publishers hit by the technology and will convene a round table discussion on what can be done to counter its use.

Publishers, social media firms, and ad blocking representatives will be invited to the sit down session over the coming weeks to discuss the threat to revenues.

Whittingdale 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.”

Of particular concern to Whittingdale is the rise of so-called ‘whitelisting’ which sees ad blocking firms offer to enable adverts on specific platforms in return for payment, a practice which the minister referred to as a ‘modern day protection racket’.

Despite these warm words the culture secretary stopped short of backing a blanket ban on ad blocking software, preferring to pursue a consensual agreement.

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