The New York Times is looking into the possibility of launching an ad-free digital subscription package, according to Chief Executive Mark Thompson speaking at the IAB Ad Blocking and User Experience Summit recently.
The New York Times trials ad-free digital subscriptions
The publisher has been trying to combat the negative effects of ad blockers for quite some time. It employs pop-ups to notify users to please switch off their ad blockers when visiting the site. Both dismissable as well as non-dismissable requests were trialled.
According to Thompson, over 40% of non-subscribers who received the non-dismissable requests whitelisted the Times and at least 30% of subscribed members did the same.
“We do want to offer all of our users as much choice as we can, and we recognise that there are some users – both subscribers and non-subscribers – who would prefer to have an ad-free experience.”
However, he added that The New York Times would continue to block users who refused to contribute to high quality journalism by allowing adverts or buying a subscription.
In addition, he accused AdBlock Plus maker Eyeo of conducting “unsavoury business practice”. He said:
“Adblockers often portray themselves as an answer to unsatisfactory digital advertising experiences. But Eyeo wasn’t founded by concerned citizens. It was founded by a digital ad veteran and represents the most cynical, most money-grasping end of the old unreformed digital ad business. We need to expose Eyeo, Adblock Plus and the Acceptable Ads whitelist, so that the public can see them for what they are.”
Only by adding value for the consumer, advertisers would be able to combat the rising threat of adblockers to publishers, he concluded.