Axel Springer defeated in its years-long battle with ad blocker Eyeo

Much to the anguish of publishers, Germany’s Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit from Axel Springer against Eyeo, the company behind AdBlock Plus.

The European publishing titan argued that ad blocking, as well as the business model where advertisers pay to be added to circumvent the white list, violated Germany’s competition law. Axel Springer won a partial victory in 2016, when a lower court ruled that it shouldn’t have to pay for white listing.

However, the Supreme Court has now overturned this. In the process, it declared that ad-blocking and Eyeo’s white list are legal. Springer, who now stands to lose a chunk of its revenue from ad blockers, will take the fight to the country’s constitutional court.

Springer is one of Germany’s largest and most influential media groups. It owns Bild, the country’s biggest daily, along with Die Welt, Business Insider and a plethora of magazines and internet companies. Though a few of its titles charge readers for access to digital content, the group still relies heavily on online advertising.

In related news, Digiday reports that Axel Springer is on a mission to cut down on its dependence on Google ad tech — and it’s making progress. In January, it completed the shift from its former waterfall-based ad tech stack used with Google in favor of using a new platform as its ad server, into which it can plug in a variety of demand partners (including Google). The result? Programmatic revenues rose 10 percent compared to the same period last year, while eCPMs jumped 28 percent.

Revenue gains aside, what pleased the German company most was ‘the overall benefit of being less beholden to Google’s ad technology developments and agendas — and to gain more transparency over the programmatic bidding process’.

Axel Springer is also pioneering ultra-detailed reporting by analysing raw audience, campaign and publishing data via an API (and SQL queries) enabled by AI-powered data platform 1plusX. The result according to 1plusX is ‘extremely detailed, transparent, accurate and actionable insight on demand’.

Further reading:

TNW: Adblocking is here to stay. It’s time for publishers to move on

TechCrunch: German Supreme Court dismisses Axel Springer lawsuit, says ad blocking is legal

Engadget: German court says ad-blocking is legal


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