In an attempt to safeguard its advertising revenue, YouTube has heightened its measures against the use of ad blockers by its users even further. Let’s take a closer look at the implications of this development, as reported by The Verge.

According to a statement provided to The Verge by Christopher Lawton, YouTube’s communications manager, the platform is launching a global campaign urging users either to whitelist YouTube (i.e., allow ads to be shown) or consider subscribing to YouTube Premium, its ad-free subscription service.

For users who encounter this initiative, they might come across a notice that states: “Video playback is blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the ad blocker is disabled.” Though the notice offers a prompt to either allow ads or try out YouTube Premium, there’s no guarantee that video playback will resume immediately. Some users, including a staffer from The Verge, have reported being consistently blocked from viewing videos due to their use of ad blockers.

YouTube confirmed it was blocking videos for users with ad blockers

The seeds for this move can be traced back to June when YouTube first confirmed it was blocking videos for users with ad blockers. At the time, Lawton termed it a “small experiment globally.” Fast forward a few months, and the platform’s stance has drastically shifted. In recent weeks, a surge in reports, notably highlighted by Android Authority, indicates that a growing number of users with ad blockers are finding themselves barred from watching YouTube videos.

Lawton’s rationale for the crackdown hinges on the platform’s terms of service, which, he states, are breached by the “use of ad blockers.” He underscored the critical role ads play in sustaining YouTube’s vast creator ecosystem, emphasizing that ads enable “billions to access their favorite content on YouTube.”

Unskippable 30-second ads on YouTubes TV app

It’s important to place this development in the larger context of YouTube’s ad-related changes this year. In May, the company rolled out unskippable 30-second ads on its TV app. This move was later complemented by trials of longer, yet sparser, ad intervals on the same platform. The underlying strategy here seems clear: YouTube aims to encourage users to migrate to its ad-free YouTube Premium service by making the ad experience more cumbersome.

However, it’s worth noting that YouTube’s monetization strategies might face some resistance from users. This year saw YouTube increasing the subscription price for Premium by $2 and phasing out its more economical Premium Lite plan. Such measures could potentially deter users from considering the ad-free option, especially in light of the enhanced restrictions on ad blockers.

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Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.