German publisher Axel Springer has begun tackling ad-block users on its newspaper site Bild head-on, stopping them from accessing content and offering them a paid alternative.
When any visitor using an ad blocker arrives at the Bild.de site, they'll be greeted with a 'wall' page asking them to either turn off the blocker or buy a Bildsmart subscription in order to gain access – or go elsewhere.
In exchange for a €2.99 (£2.23) monthly subscription, users will get 'almost ad-free' access to the site. Acknowledging that ads do slow down the site, Bild also promises a 50 per cent faster loading time.
"We are meeting various user requirements and the requirements of the advertising market, which is very relevant for us," said Donata Hopfen, chairwoman of the Bild Group management board. "Even on the internet, journalistic services need to be financed via the two well-known income streams – advertising and [subscriptions] –in order to continue to offer independent journalism."
This is part of a wider attempt to combat ad blocking by Axel Springer. The publisher has also filed a lawsuit against Eyeo, the owner of Adblock Plus, on the basis that its business model is unlawful, and that its paid-for Acceptable Ads program amounts to 'an extortionate approach'.