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Fragmented OOH industry finally gets SOP; implementation to begin soon

03-November-2017
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Fragmented OOH industry finally gets SOP; implementation to begin soon

In an attempt to consolidate an otherwise fragmented industry, the Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) the industry body for outdoor advertising in India, along with the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), has come out with a set of standard operating procedures (SOP) for stakeholders of the OOH industry. While the IOAA has already circulated the SOP to OOH media owners, the agencies are expected to start implementing the rules soon, possibly in the next couple of weeks.

The SOP, which is expected to bring in more transparency in the OOH ecosystem, lists rules pertaining to the release orders, invoices, payment credit periods, dispute resolution, display periods and extensions, defective delivery, cancellations as well as the roles that each of the stakeholders will need to play in every step of OOH media buying and selling .The document also lays down a list of penalties for stakeholders who fail to adhere to the SOP.
The SOP has put in place a set of rules and regulations for all the stakeholders, namely the media owners, agencies and advertisers, to help monitor the industry better. The document defines the procedure that will need to be followed by an agency and media owner in connection with the display of ads by advertisers through their agencies on sites/properties owned by media owners.

Indrajit Sen, Vice Chairman, IOAA, says, “For the longest time, the OOH industry has functioned without any established and accepted business processes. With the SOP, we are trying to bring in clarity around the various procedures that will help us consolidate the industry to a large extent.”

Commenting on how the initiative will help give firm structure to the OOH industry, Nabendu Bhattacharya, CEO & Managing Director, Milestone Brandcom, says, “Ours is an unorganised industry with no set entry and exit barriers. As a result, the industry association in India was bifurcated with different associations for different cities and states. It was not even necessary that everybody would be a member of the associations, which was a big issue for the industry. However, once the SOP is implemented, it will take care of a lot of things such as ensuring legality of sites, and mandatory filling of proper forms for buying and selling.”

IOAA is currently in the process of sending letters to advertisers to let them know about the SOP, to give them a clearer picture about the framework. Soumitra Bhattacharyya, CEO, Madison Out Of Home, says, “The SOP will help regulate the way the Outdoor business is being conducted. Over all these years, we have become undisciplined as an industry but with the SOP, we have worked on putting timelines. If there is a specific display period, you cannot suddenly cancel, we have laid down time-frames for extension and cancellation grids. With the SOP, purchase orders will need to be issued on time and the payments would need to be made on time. This is our effort at getting the business and the industry more regulated.”

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