IOAA (Indian Outdoor Advertising Association), the industry body for OOH advertising in the country, recently announced that it will now be extending its membership to even outdoor agencies. The IOAA has long been a body comprised of only media owners and there have been constant calls to make it more inclusive.
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The move to expand the membership has been well received by agencies we spoke with, some of whom were present in the meetings where the decision was taken. Though finalization of the membership is still to be formalized, agency heads and current members of the IOAA we spoke with were confident that it would meet with a positive response.
Nabendu Bhattacharya, CEO and MD of Milestone Brandcom, called the move “a step in the right direction. “Initially, the governing body was dominated by media owners. Now that it has been decided to have equal representation, it will help create a common agenda in line with international associations. This is a big move,” he said.
Atul Shrivastava, COO of Laqshya Media, opined that the addition of agencies to the body will enable them to understand the problems being faced by media owners. For him, the most important result of this move would be that the industry would be able to better control fly-by-night operators and bring some form of accreditation to the process of recognizing new agencies. “We have been discussing this for a long time. We are facing a lot of competition from unorganized players who are reckless and undercut costs, which we cannot do. This hurts the entire ecosystem, including media agencies, owners and clients.”
When asked how many new members were expected to be added, Shrivastava said that representatives from all agencies were present and the serious and long-term players would have no problem joining the IOAA.
We also spoke to Kaushik Chakravorty, Founder of Street Talk, who confirmed that their membership was “under process”. When asked for his thoughts on IOAA’s decision, he said, “As an industry initiative it is a good step. That said, as an industry body, IOAA must be transparent, focused and fair to all stakeholders. It should be empowered enough to be effective and credible enough to be respected. I am confident that we have enough well intentioned as well as capable professionals in the business who would be able to steer the industry towards inclusive growth for all.”
Mandeep Malhotra, Executive Director of DDB Mudra Group and President & Head of DDB MudraMax, said that his company would take a call after reviewing the details of membership. However, he admitted that it was a good step. “It is about time (this happened). I have been pushing them to do it for a long time. It will lead to a collective effort for the industry,” he said.
The major challenges in front of the OOH sector now lies in streamlining the industry and bringing in a framework and common currency; work on the latter is already under way. “We have to organize the industry and take a look at a lot of do’s and dont’s. There are many other things that we are going to take up to ensure that the industry is more organized,” said Nabendu Bhattacharyya.