Some experts are predicting that Apple’s plans to introduce ad-blocking software to Safari in iOS 9 will – intentionally or otherwise – drive publishers towards the Apple News app, also set to arrive in September alongside iOS 9.
The idea was raised in a recent blog on the Wall Street Journal that explores Apple’s plans and how they will hit publishers that already struggle to monetize their content online.
Ad-blockers have been available for some time now, particularly on the Chrome and Safari browsers – arguably the two largest players in the desktop market. However, on mobile it’s less familiar – Chrome doesn’t allow ad-blockers on Android devices, and Apple’s ad-blocking on Safari for iOS due in a few weeks is new territory.
iOS was responsible for 43% of all time spent by users on mobile sites in the US in July.
As the blog notes, if users aren’t viewing ads on mobile then advertisers won’t use those sites causing revenue to fall and the website potentially unable to continue creating content.
One publishing executive cited but unnamed in the WSJ post said there is a “dichotomy” between Apple’s rollout of the ad-blocking capability and its News app. Because the app is ad-supported, the result could be Apple driving news publishers straight into its app where they can make money from ads that can’t be blocked… with Apple taking a cut of course.
However, the article also cites other experts who say too much is unknown at the moment. Though early experiments have shown ad-blockers improving the performance of Safari as ads can slow page loading down.
The question remains, is Apple trying to have its own ad-based cake and eat it? Or are they simply trying to control its software for greater user-experience?