Will Swedish media block users who filter ads?

Will Swedish media block users who filter ads?
Will Swedish media start banning ad blockers? Photo: Leif R Jansson/SCANPIX
The editor-in-chief of Sweden's biggest newspaper has hinted that it could follow in the footsteps of major global media outlets and ban users who filter out advertisements.

The Washington Post stirred worldwide debate when it earlier this month announced it would prevent readers using software to block out ads from accessing content on its site.

And the head of Sweden's biggest online newspaper has hinted that his Aftonbladet tabloid could follow suit to ensure it does not lose ad revenue.

“This response will become increasingly common in the media. You could question the value of a user who intends not to take part of commercial messages and won't pay. Media companies can't keep doing that over a long period of time,” said Jan Helin told a popular podcast he runs with Thomas Mattsson, the editor-in-chief of competing tabloid Expressen.

“In that case you actually have to find your news elsewhere. There won't be any news sources left that can produce content without having any business model, either in the form of advertising or without someone paying,” he added.

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His comments came just days after Apple's iOS added a quick and easy way to block ads for its Safari web browser by installing an app. Popular paid option 'Crystal' was the number one most bought app in Sweden on Thursday.

According to recent research by the Wall Street Journal, Sweden has the most users in the world of ad blocking software, with a third of all Swedes choosing to filter out commercial messages on their laptops and smartphones.

James Savage, The Local's managing editor said on Thursday: “We could also be forced to block people who use ad blockers if this becomes a bigger problem.”

He added: “We work hard with our customers to make sure ads are interesting and relevant, but in the final reckoning they are what pay for our readers' experience. They can't be an optional extra.”