Stakeholders Proffer Solutions To OOH Industry Challenges
By Azeez Disu
In the face of challenges confronting the out-of –home (OOH) industry in Nigeria, Otunba Seni Adetu, CEO Algorithm and former Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria; Ijedi Iyoha, Acting Registrar, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and others stakeholders have called on practitioners to deploy innovative ways, creativity, digital mobile technology and trust in the discharge of their business operation.
The stakeholders who gathered at the 33rd Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at Owu Crown Hotel, Ibadan, Oyo State made the assertion on Friday (27th July) .They are optimistic that with such effort, the industry will be back to its old good days, despite changing business climate.
There is no gain saying that the industry is rocked with crisis which includes issues such as media debt, declining patronage of outdoor advertising platforms resulting in large number of vacant boards, overregulation by government among others. These have turned the industry into a shadow of itself, although they are few agencies who are still waxing stronger in the midst of the crisis especially because of their deployment of digital OOH technologies.
Most of the OOH companies’ representatives present at the AGM complained that they have low patronage and a lot of vacant boards, despite this; they are made to pay the government agencies like Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, (LASAA), Oyo State Signage and Advertisement Agency (OYSAA), Ogun State Signage and Advertising Agency (OGSAA) and others.
However, OYSAA staffs who were on ground at the OAAN AGM told Brand Communicator that if board owners reconcile with them they will pay 25 per cent of the total fee they are supposed to pay when there is an ad on their board, but explained that many are yet to pay to the agency. Asides that, a look at OAAN’s General Secretary’s report presented at the AGM shows that out of 215 registered members of the association, only 97 are financially up-to date members.
Adetu who was the guest speaker at the event pointed that the challenges confronting the OOH industry are numerous, but to surmount them, OAAN has to be creative and holistic in addressing them. “You need to really step back and itemize three or four things that are important to you and decide to take risks as organization. Most times we all seat back and say we are stuck in traffic but if we check ourselves, we might find out that we are the traffic.”
He pointed further that most agencies fail to fulfill their pledge to clients as regards the time they promised to display an ad materials on their boards, citing that he has experienced many of such occurrence when he was working with multinationals.
“There are people that collected money from clients and either consciously or by omission failed to display the material”. He explained that such act raises credibility and trust issues and it needs to be addressed urgently in the interest of all.
Iyoha, represented by Joe Eugene Onuorah, Assistant Director, Operations, APCON disclosed that as a regulator, they will continue to support OAAN and its members, as she called for strategic adjustment in OOH practitioners business models.
“It is my considered opinion that confronting and overcoming the present challenges requires that we, as business managers, undertake certain strategic adjustment in our individual business models as well as more cohesive and concerted action as an industry to bring the practice and business to global standard and trends.
“With your varied experiences in this business, you are better-positioned to appreciate the necessity to adjust your business models to create a more –focused, client-driven, smart and technologically innovative organizations. You will to explore various financing options that will enable you invest adequately to complete in today’s OOH business which globally, is leveraging digital mobile technology, environment-friendly structures, signage materials and lighting as well as monitoring and performance reporting systems and measurement/rating metrics that satisfy the demands of clients.
“Businesses may need to explore various forms of partnerships, collaborations or consolidation which may deny them the level of control they currently enjoy but guarantee greater efficiency, value-delivery and return on investment.” She disclosed.
In addition, she stated that “I believe it is important now more than ever that OAAN explores all its contacts and friends across the country to exert considerable influence on those who make decisions that affect your business particularly at the state governments. Such influence may include political involvement that would put your members on the decision-making table. Besides, competition among members should be mindful of the long term survival of the industry. It is also important that your members do not lend themselves as tools in the hands of those you are contending with.”
On rate, Toye Arulogun, Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Oyo State, who is also an Integrated Marketing communication (IMC) practitioners and representative of Abiola Ajimobi, Governor, Oyo State of Nigeria at the event called for rate legalization “For every job you say this is the rate, someone else will say I can do it lesser, and the credibility of some of us, who put the rates together, we come to be in doubt, we need to start legalizing the rate. ” he said.
On a global scene, with the deployment of IP-enabled digital screens in public spaces, that state of affairs is changing. Those screens present an opportunity not just to show advertising—to which many consumers are increasingly expressing antipathy and a lack of trust—but to deliver various forms of content.
And some leading OOH companies are starting to do just that: delivering utility content like transit updates, weather and news that informs consumers on their daily journeys; local content like trending places, fun facts and upcoming local events; cultural content like art collections, poetry and local history; seasonal content oriented around heritage months or holidays; and even premium entertainment content.
Looking at other solutions, recall at the 10th annual Poster Awards organized by OAAN, renowned marketing communication practitioner and Chairman, Troika Group, Biodun Shobanjo advocated for mergers and acquisition. He pointed that the industry will grow stronger and better when it is undertaken. The proposed idea is similar to the transformation witnessed in the banking sector.
“When you have an economy that is no longer vibrant, one of the first casualties is the integrated marketing communications sector which is why operators have to innovate or die. Converge to be stronger and more efficient, “Shobanjo said when he delivered the paper titled “The Indices of a Vibrant Economy: Outdoor Advertising as a Catalyst”
Global Ad trends, in its February 2018 report says that successful brands across the world allocate 13% of their media budget to out-of-home advertising, noting that the heaviest OOH spenders were governments and non-profits campaigns (26%), closely followed by Alcholic drinks brands (16%) and retail brands (14%).
To move the industry forward, Iyoha advised that “OAAN and other advertising stakeholders need to impress on the government through cooperative and concertd engagements, necessity to encourage the growth of Nigeria advertising industry as part of its policy of boosting the economy and creating employment. A policy that encourages foreign companies to companies to come into Nigeria and displace Nigerian enterprises erodes the sense of nationalism among the victims of such displacements. Various countries of the world purse policies which seek to protect their local enterprises from overbearing competitors from outside their countries. At every opportunity, APCON will continue to canvass this awareness of the need to support the growth and stability of advertising business in Nigeria.”
Conclusively, yearly AGM and other fora are being organized and the challenges of the industry are being rolled out, it should not be the case, future events should be about how practitioners are thieving and turning challenges to opportunities.