Apple Inc just announced that they will be allowing users to blocks ads on iPhones and iPads once devices with their new iOS 9 start rolling out into stores.
It’s a surprising and controversial decision that could seriously damage the company’s relationship with advertisers. After all, Apple isn’t just any old company manufacturing smartphones and other wireless devices, they are the market leaders.
Apple’s iOS 9 is set to launch later this year, sometime in the fall, and the operating system’s Safari app (the internet browser) will come with an innovative update – ad-blocking extensions. What this means is that users will be able to download add-ons that will then block ads, pop-ups, flashy graphics, cookies, and other content on most websites.
Users don’t have to reset it every time they visit a new page either, as Content Blocking Safari Extensions are going to work throughout the device’s browser.
The developers wrote a statement describing how it all works: “Your app extension is responsible for supplying a JSON file to Safari. The JSON consists of an array of rules (triggers and actions) for blocking specified content. Safari converts the JSON to bytecode, which it applies efficiently to all resource loads without leaking information about the user’s browsing back to the app extension”.
Ad-blocking is a habit the rises in popularity ear after year. It used to be that only so called nerds were interested in but, but the phenomenon has become mainstream in recent years. A report published by Adobe and PageFair in 2014 showed that year after year ad-block usage increases by b7o percent (70%).
The report found that 140 million people world wide block ads every day, with 41 percent (41%) of them being in the much targeted by advertisers segment – young adults with the age between 18 and 29.
Larry Page, chief executive of Google, has already noticed the change as he gave a statement earlier this year saying that the industry needs to learn how be better at making ads that are less annoying and that load faster in order to fight against ad-blocking.
Apple Inc isn’t entirely new to ad-blocking either, but previously the technology was only available on the desktop version of Safari. Mobile advertising however is one of the fastest growing income sources for digital media companies. And it’s no mystery why – they’re cheaper than traditional ATL ads (above the line ads), and they allow these companies to keep their own services free for their users.
Experts have already started questioning the decision, with Joshua Benton, director of Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab, calling the development a “worrisome” one. He can not see a scenario where Apple’s move does not shave off a significant chunk of the overall mobile advertising revenue, as many of the news companies out there are counting on mobile advertising to help their business model.
He added that publishers don’t make much money off of mobile advertising as is, and considering that Safari is the most popular mobile browser in the United States, he believes the future looks grim.
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