Newsworks: Coronavirus ad blockers will cost UK newspapers £50m

Simon Austin's picture

Newsworks, the body representing UK newspaper publishers, has launched a #BackdontBlock initiative after estimating that brand safety measures around the keyword ‘coronavirus’ will cost the industry £50m in lost advertising revenue in the next three months.

The news industry is asking advertisers to remove blocklists from trusted UK news brands to ensure they can continue to fund journalism. Publishers say that words related to the pandemic – such as coronavirus and Covid-19 - are appearing on blacklists across the industry.

Newsworks, the News Media Association, the Society of Editors, the Association for Online Publishers, Internet Advertising Bureau and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising are all behind the scheme to quickly mobilise buyers to remove the measures.

Tracy De Groose, executive chair of Newsworks, has written a letter on behalf of the industry. She said: “While we have seen a huge surge in demand from readers for trusted, accurate reporting, advertising ‘blocklists’ are preventing adverts from appearing alongside online stories with the word ‘coronavirus’ in them.

“Our unified industry appeal to advertisers is incredibly simple: back, and don’t block British journalism. Please remove ‘coronavirus’ from your blocklists. Readers are relying on us right now, and we are relying on advertising to help ensure the public receives information and advice from the very best sources.”

News Media Association deputy chief executive Lynne Anderson added that “advertisers should be supporting this vital public service provided by the media”.