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Rise of ad blocking could expose publishers lacking subscription revenue says WSJ boss

Wright:

Wright: Market has to work together to beat ad blockers

The rise of ad blocking will expose publishers that do not charge their readers for content, the Asia boss of the Wall Street Journal has said.

Talking to Mumbrella yesterday, Jonny Wright, the Hong Kong-based international MD of WSJ publisher Dow Jones, said that publishers reliant on a single revenue stream from advertising will find the rise of ad blocking “restrictive” and will need to adopt a more diversified business model.

“We see some publishers that have a more one-track revenue model. The impact will be of a different scale for them; if ad blocking takes off it would become restrictive for them,” he said.

Wright’s comments come the week after the Journal started to ask a sample of readers in the US and Europe to switch off ad blocking software.

WSJ's message to readers

WSJ’s message to readers with ad blockers

Wright said that the initiative was just a “test” and the website hadn’t blocked any ad blocker-using subscribers from reading content yet.

On why the Journal felt the need to ask readers to turn off their ad blockers when the title already makes money from subscribers, Wright was straightforward in his response. “We have two revenue streams to provide award-winning journalism,” he said.

Though the paper says that it’s too early to share data from the trial, Wright shared anecdotal reasons for WSJ readers using ad blockers. “Some didn’t know that they had them [turned] on. Another one is that they’ve been to other sites and had an intrusive experience,” he said.

Wright commented that the media industry had a collective responsibility to respond to the rise of ad blockers.

“The market has to work together – publishers, advertisers and agencies. it benefits all parties that advertising experiences are more engaging,” Wright said.

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