The Bangalore outdoor industry is again looming under dark clouds owing to the fresh notifications that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has issued. If implemented, the outdoor media owners might see the officials bring down nearly 50 per cent of their hoardings.
The Government of Karnataka had issued a notification in context to installing or exhibiting advertising hoardings in Bangalore, reiterating the outdoor domain of the city to BBMP limits. The notification in essence would create hindrance in allowing any new hoarding in the city. The notification also said that the display of existing commercial or self advertising hoardings would be allowed to continue only till the expiry of the currently valid licenses and that every hoarding should compulsorily display the validity dates.
Speaking on the fresh notification, a Government official, on condition of anonymity, explained, “Issuance of licenses has been stopped forthwith till further orders for installation or display of commercial hoarding and self advertising boards within BBMP limits. Permission would not be granted henceforth by BBMP for installing or displaying flex-boards, banners, bunting, cut-outs and so on for any occasion such as public meetings, birthday celebrations or festivals and religious functions, among other things. Strict action would be taken against those violating this order.”
This notification has come at a time when the outdoor fraternity in India was looking at stepping into the BBMP territory, courtesy Assistant Commissioner, BBMP, Gangadhar Swamy’s optimistic views on the subject.
It was exactly a month back, when Swamy addressed the OOH fraternity at the Outdoor Advertising Convention 2008 in Mumbai, where he had said, “Ever since the implementation of the new guidelines for the outdoor industry, BBMP has witnessed a tremendous growth in revenues, which currently stands at Rs 1,800 crore per year. The Government is open to any innovative schemes that would help in enhancing the city landscape and revenue of the Government.”
He had also said that Bangalore had transformed into Greater Bangalore and had an area of around 20 lakh square meters, which was currently untapped. He said, “We are currently working with all the agencies (2,800 in total) and the Bangalore Outdoor Advertising Association (BOAA) to frame a city plan, which would create a win-win situation for all the parties involved. We at BBMP believe that outdoor advertising is no longer a stepchild.”
The notification unfortunately contradicts what Swamy had said then.
BS Sujay, MD, Sujay Advertising, an out-of-home player in Bangalore, said, “It was in January 2007 when BBMP had come up with fresh guidelines for the OOH industry in which they had clearly mentioned that a two-and-a-half year extension would be given to the existing hoardings, which would mean from 2007 to mid-2009. Now from nowhere, the BBMP officials have ignored that rule by reducing the time length for the existing hoardings to July 30, 2008, which means as of now. BBMP should have first implemented the new byelaws, rather then contemplate with the issue of the existing hoardings in the city.”
Sujay, also a member of the BOAA, added, “The BOAA feels that such a decision could mar the growth of the industry, which is why it has called for an immediate meeting on August 1, 2008, to discuss the matter and find a solution by August 4, 2008, so that it can tackle these dark clouds that are looming over the outdoor industry in Bangalore.”
In a few days’ time we know what turn the Bangalore OOH industry would now take. But as of now, Bangalore seems like a very unattractive market for OOH players.