Apple’s Safari desktop browser has supported ad-blocking software for years. But the company is preparing to allow similar functionality in the mobile version of Safari in iOS 9, the next version of its operating system, which is expected to be released next month. The “beta” version that some people are testing includes the ad-blocking capability.
For sites that support themselves with advertising, the reason for their heartburn is clear: they are already struggling to monetise their growing mobile audiences. If millions of iPhone and iPad users can easily activate ad blocking, that will translate to fewer ads to sell and likely less revenue.
“The ad-blocking problem is real and growing, and ad-blocking on iOS is only going to accelerate it,” said Jason Kint, chief executive of Digital Content Next, a digital publishing trade association.
Mr. Kint’s group represents major publishers and media owners including Wall Street Journal-owner News Corp, the New York Times, Conde Nast, Bloomberg and others.
Apple can make a big impact on the mobile business by itself, given its size. According to online measurement specialist comScore, iOS accounted for 43 per cent of all time spent by US users on mobile websites during July. Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t allow extensions like ad-blockers on phones.
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