Reeling under heavy financial loss as a result of the destruction of outdoor sites belonging to its corporate members, the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), has got a court order restraining the Kano State Urban and Regional Authority, Chris Parks Marketing Solutions Limited and the Attorney General, Kano, from further demolition of billboard sites in the state.
Outdoor advertising investments worth over N300 billion in Kano State is crippled as Chris Parkes Marketing Services (CPMS), a concessionaire saddled with the responsibility to regulate, and control the out-of-home (OOH) business in the state, embarked on demolition of hoardings in the metropolis and the suburbs.
On May 31, 2012, Kano State Urban Planning & Development Authority through its concessionaire-Chris Parkes Marketing Service (CPMS) unlike other states that have adopted a more engaging stakeholders strategic approach to regulate and control the industry issued ‘all billboards must come down by May 31 ultimatum to all out-of-home (OOH) advertising practitioners in the state through an advertorial in the papers.
CPMS, a non-outdoor practitioner agency only issued a month ultimatum to all stakeholders to either remove their hoardings or risk losing them without prior notice.
Immediately after the ultimatum, Kano State Urban Planning & Development Authority and its agent- CPMS went to town and brought down all visibly outdoor hoardings not minding those that have contravene the city planning and those that have not. What matters to CPMS is that all billboards must be uprooted and practitioners in Kano must re-register to operate.
Meanwhile, a copy of the Court Order dated August 6, 2012, and which was made available to the Nigerian Compass reads: The Respondents; the Kano State Urban and Regional Authority, Chris Parks Marketing Solutions Limited and the Attorney General, Kano are hereby restrained jointly and severally and by themselves, agents and privies and officials from further destroying, pulling and bringing down, blanking out the billboards or sites belonging to member companies if the Plaintiff in Kano State pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already filed in this suit.
“Meanwhile the case is hereby adjourned 22/08/2012 for hearing.”
However, while stakeholders applaud initiative by the state government to beautify and modernize the city, they have also decried excessive rate and undue grandstanding of concessionaire. Investigations showed that members OAAN are groaning over inability to pay this new rate while advertisers are reluctant to accommodate new price regime as budgets had been planned prior to the new regime in Kano State.
The quest to restructure and control outdoor advertising and its attendant challenges amongst states in the country has taken a different dimension as many states join the bandwagon first created by Lagos State.
Experts have decried the main objective of the task. They said is more of a money-making venture than beautifying and modernizing the state as claim by the concessionaire.
In July, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), regulatory authority with sole responsibility to regulate advertising practice in the country at 2012 advertising stakeholders’ forum with the theme “aligning the roles of state and local governments in indoor advertising regulation’ alleged states overbearing influence on the outdoor advertising.
After exhaustive discussions on the theme of the forum, the following resolutions were adopted:
Outdoor Advertising in Nigeria is faced with a threatening challenge arising from the actions of various tiers and Agencies of government, who seek to boost their internally generated revenue through control of outdoor Advertising, the development of Nigeria’s outdoor Advertising industry is stalled by the impact of multiple and sometimes, arbitrary control. This has led to collapse of several small and medium enterprises who can no longer afford the huge cost of advertising displays, massive loss of employment, among other socio-economic consequences and the outdoor Advertising industry should develop standard measurement matrix and reliable database that justifies rates charged for various categories of outdoor Advertisement platforms, and embrace innovations that do not necessarily translate to huge costs to advertisers.
The forum also admonished governments and their agencies should focus more on cost effective utilisation of resources available to them rather than the prevailing desperate drive for internal revenue which has put the outdoor advertising industry in dire straits.