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YouTube begins blocking viewers with ad-block plugins

The move comes as YouTube continues to struggle with a downturn in advertising revenue.

The move comes as YouTube continues to struggle with a downturn in advertising revenue.

A message on a YouTube video warning a viewer that the website does not support ad-blocking technology. (Photo via Reddit, Graphic by The Desk)

YouTube has started testing a version of its website that is incompatible with ad-blocking plugins, officials with the service confirmed this week.

The affirmation came after several people began receiving messages from YouTube warning them that the website is incompatible with browsers that have ad-blocking plugins enabled. A moderator with the YouTube community confirmed the message was legitimate, and said a Google employee told them it was part of an experiment that affected some users.

YouTube generates the majority of its revenue through advertisements, including short commercial videos that play before a YouTube video and in the middle of some of its longer videos. The experiment in which YouTube prevents users with ad-blocking software from viewing videos comes as the service struggles with a declining advertising market, which has impacted its revenue.

Streamers who want commercial-free access to YouTube have the option to pay $12 a month or $120 a year for YouTube Premium, which also allows users to download YouTube videos for offline viewing and includes free access to YouTube Music.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).