NEWS1 April 2020

UK newspapers call on advertisers to remove blocklists

Covid-19 Media News UK

UK – Newspaper publishers have joined forces to call on advertisers to support UK journalism, as the industry fears losing £50m from advertising blocklists despite increased readership.


The #BackdontBlock campaign comes in response to advertising industry blocklists preventing adverts from appearing alongside online stories about coronavirus. 

Blocklists consist of keywords that advertisers put in place to stop their ads appearing against inappropriate content. But including ‘coronavirus’ has had the unintended consequence of penalising newspapers for journalism on this vital issue, the most significant to affect the country for a generation.

The appeal to call on advertisers to support quality journalism during the Covid-19 crisis is supported by the news industry’s trade bodies Newsworks, the News Media Association and the Society of Editors as well as the Association for Online Publishers, Internet Advertising Bureau and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

While all news brands have seen a surge in demand from readers for quality, accurate reporting, if the pandemic lasts for another three months the total loss to news brands is expected to be £50m.

Tracy De Groose (pictured), executive chair of Newsworks, has written an open 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 receive information and advice from the very best sources.”