It’s an interesting turnabout that Yang illustrates. After the digital disruption and the fall of paid circulation, news publishers were forced to compete in the digital space for revenue. And now that consumers are becoming much savvier at modifying their viewing experience through ad blocking, that digital revenue model .
“To compete with digital giants like Facebook and Google, newspapers have had to bet big on online advertising. Now, ad blocking software is preventing them from taking a piece of the revenue pie. It’s another example of technology once again hindering newspapers,” Yang continues.
What’s next? The first step for many brands is to bar readers using ad blockers; Forbes was one of the first we noticed limiting access to ad blocker users. The other option being presented by publishers is to pay a monthly or one-time fee to view the content.
Still, there’s another option that Yang feels is going underutilized.
“It’s pretty ironic that the biggest treat [sic] to digital advertising now is another digital product; technology that was created to combat other technology,” Yang writes. “It’s tech versus tech, and newspaper publishers shouldn’t have to choose a side. What they need to do is create their own defensive force—all they need to do is look at their print product to find their best weapon.”
Consumers may just be ready for that, too, notes one industry insider.
“People want to step away from the white noise, wanting something a little more nourishing and in-depth and a little less throwaway,” Rob Orchard, Delayed Gratification co-founder and editorial director, is quoted as saying.
Will newspapers follow Newsweek’s lead and become “premium boutique products?” It could happen as more consumers move back toward print to escape the digital fatigue fostered by the ever-increasing amount of non-welcome content.