Mobile operators reportedly plan to block online advertising
In move that will seek to force Google into giving up a cut of its revenues, several European mobile operators plan to block advertising on their networks, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The unnamed companies are set to use ad blocking tech developed by Israeli start-up Shine and would prevent ads from loading in web pages and apps. However, the tech does not affect in-feed ads deployed by Facebook and Twitter.
Shine's chief marketing officer, Roi Carthy, told the FT that online advertising "is out of control" and is "polluting the user experience", adding that it was a "consumer right" to block them, even if it undermines the business model of many online publishers.
2014 saw UK advertising grow at its highest rate since 2010, increasing 5.8% to £18.6bn, according to the latest Advertising Association/Warc expenditure report.
Mobile adspend in the UK was up 58.9% on 2013 and continues to grow strongly, last year reaching £1,623 million.
Globally, marketers are forecast to spend almost $69bn this year on mobile ads, according to eMarketer.
"Tens of millions of mobile subscribers around the world will be opting in to ad blocking by the end of the year," Carthy said. "If this scales, it could have a devastating impact on the online advertising industry."
Shine said it was working with a number of unnamed operators, including one with almost 40 million subscribers.
An executive at a European carrier confirmed to the FT that it and "several of its peers" are planning to start blocking adverts this year.
The FT states: "The executive said that the carrier will initially launch an advertising-free service for customers on an opt-in basis.
"But it is also considering a more radical idea that it calls 'the bomb', which would apply across its entire network of millions of subscribers at once. The idea is to specifically target Google, blocking advertising on its websites in an attempt to force the company into giving up a cut of its revenues."
Warc indicates that mobile will become the third-largest medium for advertising expenditure this year in the UK, behind only television and the wider internet.
It is expected mobile will account for just over a third of all internet advertising in 2016, with adspend of around £3bn. This share rises to 40% when measuring internet on a pure play basis.
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