Five years in courts. How German media fight ad blockers

13 January 2020

Ad blocker developers accused of tampering with media content plans

The fight against ad blockers has become one of the most discussed topics in the German media, Digiday reports. War against apps that block ads started with the largest German media outlet Axel Springer. In 2015, Axel Springer sued the developer of the popular AdBlock Plus ad blocking application, German company Eyeo, accusing the latter of uncompetitive behavior.

“Creators of the blockers behave as if they can set their own rules on the websites,” said Moritz Holzgraf, Axel Springer’s director of public relations.

Axel Springer estimates that around 30% of their readers use blockers. The eMarketer research center, owned by them, meanwhile, reported that German media companies annually lose millions of euros due to ad blocking.

In 2018, Axel Springer lost the case against Eyeo. However, the publishing house did not stop there. Axel Springer is now pushing copyright infringement.

The large German broadcaster RTL joined in this fight. It accused Eyeo of violating antitrust laws, in particular because of the introduction of a paid advertisement blocking function. The proceedings are still ongoing.

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