Now in the News: Google to pay $100M a year to Canadian news outlets in last-minute deal

December 1, 2023

Publishers Forecast To Lose $54b In Revenue From Ad-Blocking

Publishers are estimated to lose $54 billion in ad revenue globally due to ad blocking in 2024, representing about 8% of total ad spend, according to data released Monday.

The ad-filtering technology group eyeo and its subsidiary Blockthrough released the 2023 report. This year’s report renamed Ad-Filtering Report from PageFair Adblock Report in previous years. The annual study provides an overview of global ad filtering and ad-blocking trends and user insights. The company estimates losses would be significantly higher, $116 billion, if ad-filtering tools that give users the ability to only see nonintrusive ads did not exist.

To determine ad-blocking rates, this study used anonymized, aggregate traffic data collected by Blockthrough from domains. Geographic locations came from truncated and anonymized IP addresses, while categorizing website content obtained via a third-party vendor used just for web analytics The number of users opting into Acceptable Ads, ad filtering, rose 300 million in 2023, up 42% from 216 million in Q4 2021.

The report also notes that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models are revolutionizing ad-filtering, making it more sustainable and scalable.

Jan Wittek, CRO at eyeo, pointed to YouTube’s recent move to crackdown on ad-blocker users by showing those consumers an anti-ad-blocking wall when they try to watch YouTube content. He admitted to the company seeing some uninstalls. “People use ad filtering and ad-blocking software not only to block ads, but also to access content in a nonintrusive way,” he said. “They use it to stay in control, to have options and to have convenience. On the other hand, they understand that content creators and publishers need to get paid.”

Not all ad-filtering users are averse to advertising. Some 58% of ad-filtering users are open or neutral to seeing nonintrusive ads, but only 20% express a strong dislike for all ads.

Of those 58% who are open or neutral to seeing some nonintrusive ads, 78% were open to seeing ads if the ads are relevant or relevant to the content being viewed. Some 64% they are open to seeing ads if they are specifically targeted to the viewer’s interests.

Wittek said it is a fair balance that users embrace and all that chatter actually drives some, who weren’t using ad blockers before, to install ad-blocking and ad-filtering software. “We hope for a middle ground that balances the needs of the user along with the need for publishers and creators to get paid for their content,” Wittek said.

Data in the report shows users are annoyed with clutter and intrusive online ads and are reclaiming control of their online experience. The overall number of active ad-blocking users worldwide jumped to 912 million in Q2 2023, compared with 11% in Q1 2022.

Since the last report, the research shows ad blocking on desktop rose after a long plateau, lifted by the move to workfrom-home. Ad blocking on mobile crossed desktop by the end of Q2 2023 and is expected to continue its long-term growth trend into the future.

Introductory discounts drive subscription purchases, consumers say

Leading independent publishers are using Memberful to build sustainable reader revenue and better align their business models with the needs and interests of their audiences.


• 73% of consumers say they’re more likely to subscribe when publishers offer them introductory discounts.

• 54% of consumers say they’re more likely to subscribe if a publisher has allowed them to access some content for free.

• Consumers are evenly split on whether they’d rather pay more money upfront for long-term savings (30%) or a smaller monthly fee that costs more in the long run (33%).

• Consumers say they’re more likely to subscribe to digital publications that offer them introductory discounts and free trials, according to research by Toolkits and National Research Group.

In a study of 1,007 U.S. consumers who have subscribed to digital publications, 73% said they are more likely to subscribe when offered an introductory discount, and 76% said they’re more likely to subscribe if a free trial period is offered.

54% of consumers also said they’re more likely to subscribe if a publisher has allowed them to access some content for free, and 67% of consumers said they would be more likely to subscribe if the process of canceling was easier than it currently is.

When it comes to evaluating monthly plans vs. longer annual commitments, consumers are evenly split on whether they’d rather pay more money upfront for long-term savings (30%) or a smaller monthly fee that may cost them more in the long run (33%). The remainder – 37% – said they do not have a preference.

Considerations for publishers

• Introductory discounts drive purchasing decisions The majority of leading consumer-facing publishers continue to offer introductory discounts and free trials for one simple reason: They remain an effective driver of sustainable subscription growth. What consumers say and what they actually do often varies widely, so self-reported data should be always taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, advanced publishers say behavioral data tells a similar story, and that introductory discounts continue to prove effective for growing their subscriber bases and revenues. There’s a reason introductory rates continue to be offered by the world’s most successful subscription publishers, and their use does not immediately call into question the health of a publisher’s business despite what some industry observers suggest.

• Consumers expect introductory rates Publishers with valuable and highly differentiated subscription products don’t typically want to offer them at reduced prices, and some argue that introductory offers risk “cheapening” products in consumers’ eyes. But the reality is consumers have largely been trained to expect introductory discounts when beginning subscription relationships. While some publishers might avoid them in an attempt to differentiate their offerings and communicate more “premium” positioning, they might simply be limiting their subscriber growth as a result.

• Short-term vs. long-term revenue One common critique of introductory discounts is that publishers are leaving money on the table by selling at a discount, but as far as many publishers are concerned the data tell a different story. Introductory discounts may cost publishers revenue in the near term, but the additional subscriber volume afforded by introductory discounts often results in significantly greater revenue yield over a multi-year period. Many publishers also say they see little evidence to support the theory that discounted subscribers will churn at a significantly higher rate than those who pay full price from day one. Publishers optimizing for short-term revenue may wish to curb their discounting, but for those looking to maximize revenue on a long-term basis, introductory discounts will continue to be attractive.

• The B2B exception Publications targeting business or professional audiences may face very different dynamics, particularly if subscriptions are being expensed or charged to an entity other than the individual purchasing them. Publishers that sell primarily to businesses may find that introductory discounts are less effective at converting subscribers and that less aggressive discounting could result in greater revenue yield.

Google to pay $100M a year to Canadian news outlets in last-minute deal: report

Agreement comes 3 weeks before Online News Act rules come into force

Google and the federal government have reached an agreement in their dispute over the Online News Act that would see Google continue to share Canadian news online in return for the company making annual payments to news companies in the range of $100 million.

Sources told Radio-Canada and CBC News earlier Wednesday that an agreement had been reached. Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge confirmed the news Wednesday afternoon. “Many doubted that we would be successful, but I was confident we would find a way to address Google’s concerns,” she told reporters outside the House of Commons.

The federal government and Google agreed on the regulatory framework earlier this week, a government source familiar with the talks told Radio-Canada. The federal government had estimated earlier this year that Google’s compensation should amount to about $172 million. Google estimated the value at $100 million.

Simplified negotiations

Along with the financial demands, Google had expressed concerns about what spokesperson Shay Purdy called “critical structural issues” with the Online News Act, also called Bill C-18. The company said it would not have a mandatory negotiation model imposed on it for talks with Canadian media organizations, preferring to deal with a single point of contact.

The new regulations will allow Google to negotiate with a single group that would represent all media, allowing the company to limit its arbitration risk.Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, thanked St-Onge for addressing the company’s concerns. “We are pleased that the Government of Canada has committed to addressing our core issues with Bill C-18,” Walker said in a statement. ” The rules will be added to the C-18 legislative framework, which must be unveiled by mid-December.

Google would still be required to negotiate with the media and sign an agreement. The digital giant could also add additional service contributions, which have yet to be specified. Google had threatened to block Canadian news content on its platforms as a result of the legislation. But unlike Meta, which ended its talks with the government last summer and stopped distributing Canadian news on Facebook and Instagram, Google has not blocked news in Canada.

A discount deal?

Faced with Google’s threat to stop distributing Canadian news, the government seems to have softened its position.But the government source argues that an agreement constitutes a victory and a net gain for Canadian media. The framework for a single negotiation is likely to serve as an example for other countries, the source added. St-Onge said the deal with Google could be reopened if other countries introduce their own legislation and reach more favourable deals with the tech giant. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the agreement was “very good news.””After months of holding strong, of demonstrating our commitment to local journalism, to strong independent journalists getting paid for their work … Google has agreed to properly support journalists, including local journalism,” he said on his way into Wednesday’s question period. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he welcomes news that Ottawa has reached a deal on online news with Google. He argues Facebook’s parent company Meta continues to ‘abdicate any responsibility’ in the matter. Bill C-18 applies to digital platforms with 20 million unique monthly users and annual revenues of $1 billion. Only Meta and Google meet those criteria.

Meta’s talks with the government have not resumed. When asked if those negotiations could be reopened, St-Onge said it’s up to Meta. “This [deal with Google] shows that this legislation works,” she said. “Now it’s on Facebook to explain why they’re leaving their platform to disinformation and misinformation instead of sustaining our news system.”

A Meta spokesperson told CBC News it doesn’t plan to allow news on its platforms in Canada while the Online News Act is law. “Unlike search engines, we do not proactively pull news from the internet to place in our users’ feeds and we have long been clear that the only way we can reasonably comply with the Online News Act is by ending news availability for people in Canada,” the spokesperson said in an email.

As a news organization, CBC/Radio-Canada could see a financial benefit under C-18, which includes a requirement for CBC to provide an annual report on any compensation for news it receives from digital operators. St-Onge said Wednesday that CBC’s eligibility under the bill will become clearer when regulations are released ahead of the bill coming into force on Dec. 19.