SYDNEY: The growing practice of installing adblocking software could be costing digital publishers in Australia up to A$240m a year in lost revenue, an industry figure has estimated.

Inquiries by AdNews revealed a widespread ignorance of the issue amongst publishers with most either unaware of it or believing it is not a major problem.

But latest figures from PageFair, which measures how many visitors to a site are blocking ads, suggest that 16.5% of Australian internet users do not see any ads when they're online. And that, according to CEO Sean Blanchfield, means an annual loss to publishers of A$240m.

A report last from PageFair and Adobe reckoned that between 10% and 20% of the total online population in any developed market had adblocking software installed on desktop, and this figure could hit 50% in some categories like gaming.

The software is now moving onto mobile devices. Adblock Plus, a leading supplier of adblocking software, recently released a browser for Android dedicated to blocking ads. And its plans for an iPhone version may be overtaken by Apple itself which has announced an update to iOS 9 which appears to have an inbuilt ability to block unwanted content, including ads.

Adblock Plus has also just launched a new feature that will allow network administrators in large organisations, such as business and universities, to deploy ad blocking at a group-wide level.

This will enable them, said Adblock Plus, to "cut down on distraction, save bandwidth and keep their networks safe from threats like malvertising".

Blanchfield told AdNews that the market blindness of publishers was to some extent understandable but added that there is one signal that should set alarm bells ringing and that was declining publisher revenues.

"You will see a gap between the number of ads being served and the number of pages being served," he explained. "There will be a discrepancy and 20% is too high – at that level you can't brush it under the table."

Data sourced from Ad News, The Guardian, Business Insider; additional content by Warc staff