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Bild declares war on internet adblockers

Germany's biggest newspaper Bild shuttered its online service on Tuesday to users who have installed so-called adblocker software.

Bild declares war on internet adblockers
Photo: Screenshot from bild.de

Readers of the website of Europe's top-selling newspaper will be asked to switch off the function or purchase a monthly subscription to Bild.de that is nearly free of advertising, its owners media giant Axel Springer said.

“Due to the increased use of the adblocker service, the revenue stream via the advertising market for all online journalists is in jeopardy,” Bild's publishers said in a statement.

The company said it finds the business model of adblocker services – which act like a firewall between web browsers and advertising servers – to be unlawful.

It said it had filed a lawsuit against the adblocker service “Eyeo” and lodged an appeal against the first judgement in the case of the Cologne district court.

Axel Springer describes itself as Europe's leading digital publisher and says it makes more than half of group revenues and nearly three quarters of profit from its digital activities.

Its Bild website is run with a “freemium” model, with some content free but some stories, pictures and exclusive interviews subject to a charge.

“From now on, BILD is testing an anti-adblocker model,” it said, the first such initiative by a major German publisher.

It now offers a “BILDsmart” subscription for €2.99 per month, with a service that is almost ad-free and promising loading times up to 50 percent faster.

“Those who do not turn off their adblocker, or those who do not pay the subscription fee no longer have access to any content from BILD.de,” the company said.

Donata Hopfen, chairwoman of the BILD Group management board, said: “Bild is responding to the increasing adblocker usage by testing a new service.

“Even on the Internet, journalistic services need to be financed via the two well-known income streams – advertising and revenues stream – in order to continue to offer independent journalism.”

SEE ALSO: Springer makes €306m online news bet

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SEXISM

Bild editor steps down over allegations of affairs with employees

The editor-in-chief of German newspaper Bild is stepping down temporarily while he is investigated over several complaints made by women, publisher Axel Springer group said on Saturday.

Bild editor steps down over allegations of affairs with employees
Bild editor Julian Reichelt at the Bild newspaper's 'Sommerfest' party in 2018. Photo: picture alliance / Jörg Carstensen/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

Julian Reichelt had “asked the board of directors to be temporarily relieved of his duties until the allegations have been clarified”, the group said in a statement. The complaints prompted the company to launch an internal investigation led by lawyers.

Reichelt is suspected of having promoted interns with whom he had affairs and then sidelining or firing them, the Spiegel newspaper reported. Members of staff came forward months ago but Spiegel said management had been slow to look into the allegations.

However, the publisher defended itself in its statement: “As a matter of  principle Axel Springer always has to distinguish between rumors, indications and clear evidence.”

It said the firm would take action when there was clear evidence, adding: “Currently, there is no such clear evidence. Prejudgments based on rumors are unacceptable for the Axel Springer corporate culture.”

Reichelt denies the claims, the group said, adding that the investigation was ongoing.

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