Ongoing Reforms Aimed At Stimulating Growth, Development Of Advertising Industry, Information Minister Says

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the ongoing reforms embarked upon by the government on reform initiatives of the advertising space is aimed at strengthening the ecosystem while encouraging inclusive growth as well as attracting more investment to the industry.

The Minister who also noted that the recent repeal of the Advertising Practitioners (Registration Etc) Act, which established the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and enactment of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) Act No 23 of 2022 has led to improvement on the duties, mandates and responsibility of the regulatory agency observed that  ongoing reforms have increased competition, thus, enabling “improved quality”, reduced capital flight as well as earning the country foreign exchange.

Speaking during the just concluded three-day National Advertising Conference which held at the Transcorp Hilton, Hotel Abuja last week, the Minister stated that the various reforms which also includes the amendments of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, the Audience Measurement System and the Digital Switch Over (DSO) have revolutionized the advertising industry in Nigeria.

He noted that the combination of the provision of the ARCON Act and the amendments to the Broadcasting Code will among other things lead to an increased competition and thus improved quality programming, reduce capital flight, increase FX earnings, promote local participation and content, help in creating monetization windows and a healthier financial structure for broadcasting, wealth creation and provide a robust landing pad for the actualization of the digital benefits for the nation.

Touching on these reforms, he said, “Section 8(1)(j) of the ARCON Act No.23 of 2022 empowers ARCON to ensure the preservation of Nigerian local content and use of indigenous skills as an important element in advertising, advertisement and marketing communications services in Nigeria and for such services directed at the Nigerian market.

Speaking on the knotty issue of payment circle, the Minister said that the introduction of regulations under the amended Broadcasting Code mandating Media Agencies and Advertisers to offset all outstanding invoices within 60-days related to advert placement and the barring of carriage of adverts of defaulters, will significantly address the diversion of advert revenue to the wrong hands, address the lack of accountability in the advertising industry and provide significant empowerment in terms of funding for content producers and channel owners in the Nigerian media industry.

He added, “The new amendment of the Broadcasting Code in furtherance of the required quota of 60% carriage of local content, has further defined the local content criteria targeted at the Nigerian audience as either produced or directed or authored by Nigerians, must-have least 75% of the leading actors and major supporting cast or must-have a minimum of 75% of its program expenses and 75% of post-production expenses are paid for services provided by Nigerians or Nigerian companies. This initiative will considerably develop the skills, expertise and industry of the local content market.”

He further added, “In order to stimulate growth and investment in the advertising sector, the Code was further amended to the effect that all television and radio advertisement for airing on all broadcast platforms, pertaining to products and services manufactured, grown, processed, developed, created and originating from Nigeria, shall be wholly produced in Nigeria.”

He warned that a breach of the above will incur a penalty of N100,000.00 per broadcast and such sums shall be invested into the Local Content Development Fund. “The build-up of this fund overtime will assist the Commission to achieve its ultimate goal of funding local content development through collaborated activities such as empowering local content providers through training, manpower development using collaborative production and donation of broadcast equipment amongst others.”

Speaking to one of the pain point of stakeholders at the conference, audience measurement, the Minister assured that efforts are underway to provide viable solutions to the that dilemma. “The Advertising Regulatory to Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has published a request for proposal (RFP) from audience measurement and insight providers who wish to deliver audience measurement services on Nigerian media platforms.

“The benefits of audience media research for the media houses are that they have better control of their scheduling and inventory in order to increase their audience engagement and level of advertising. It becomes clear what programmes attract specific audiences and therefore they can buy content and plan their programming schedules accordingly in order to attract audiences that are valuable to the advertisers and brands,” concluded.

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