A few days ago, mobile giant Three, announced plans to block adverts on a network level and provide a more enjoyable user-experience. It’s important to remember that only “irrelevant and excessive mobile ads” will be blocked which ensures unobtrusive ads can still bring in revenue. This seems like a sensible balance and I applaud Three’s decision to tackle mobile advertising in a direct manner. However, this viewpoint isn’t shared by O2’s (Telefonica) CEO Ronan Dunne. In an interview with Campaign at MWC, Dunne claimed ad blocking “isn’t the answer”. To be fair, Dunne did criticize companies employing intrusive adverts. Although he clearly believes a widespread network level blocking policy is flawed. Dunne also went onto say:
“In this market there is an imbalance between the interests of the consumers being supported and the interests of advertisers, and both are legitimate, but there doesn’t seem to be a fair balance.”
“The challenge is, if more and more ads are trying to be squeezed into the same time of consumption, that was never a deal that the advertising industry or brands ever signed up to.”
“What we’ve seen with some of the research we’ve done is, if it’s relevant and contextual, a lot of customers are comfortable with advertising. Good, well-considered advertising is akin to curation – it’s actually delivering value to customers.”
“It’s when it’s unsought and it disrupts their ability to consume the content that they’re after that it’s a problem. The current environment isn’t tenable, so it has to evolve.”
I’m not entirely convinced by the notion that customers accept adverts especially when you consider how many people use Adblock plugins on PCs. There’s a battle ranging between advertisers, and content providers trying to make money, and consumers wanting a clean and enjoyable experience. Wired recently waged a war on readers using Adblock and decided to block access to their site. This story across web and mobile is going to be so important and could dramatically alter the future of media companies.
Image courtesy of onwindows.com