Axel Springer sees early success in countering adblockers

The logo of the German publisher Axel Springer is seen outside its headquarters in Berlin August 7, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German publisher Axel Springer said its efforts to keep pushing advertising to readers of its website were bearing fruit, with two-thirds of users who use adblockers switching off the software to maintain access to the site. Springer three weeks ago forced visitors to the online version of its best-selling Bild tabloid to switch off their adblockers if they were using one or else pay a monthly fee to be able to continue using the site. "The experiment has started successfully," Chief Executive Mathias Doepfner told reporters on a call after the company reported a jump in third-quarter advertising. "I'm optimistic that adblockers will not develop into a game-changer for the industry." Springer, which recently bought news website Business Insider and launched the European version of Politico, has been aggressive among European publishers in fighting adblockers, which threaten their ability to make money from advertising. The practice of blocking online ads, which some consider irritating or intrusive, cost the global media industry more than $200 million in lost advertising sales last year, according to a study by analytics firm PageFair and Adobe. In Germany, almost a third of Web surfers are estimated to use adblocking software, more than in most other countries. Doepfner said Springer's success in making users turn off their adblockers translated into 3 million extra visits to the site. had an average of 290 million digital subscribers in the first nine months of the year. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Mark Heinrich)