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OOH industry welcomes new by-laws for public advertisements in Bengaluru

12-September-2018
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OOH industry welcomes new by-laws for public advertisements in Bengaluru

Illegal hoardings and banners across the country are an eyesore and Bangalore is (or was) no different. But things took a turn after several complaints and petitions were filed regarding this issue with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the administrative body responsible for the civic and infrastructural assets of the Greater Bengaluru metropolitan area. In August, the Karnataka High Court instructed the BBMP authorities to immediately remove all illegal flex boards. According to media reports, around 21,000 flex posters, hoardings and banners have been removed from the city since then.

BBMP approves new advertising policy

To curb illegal hoarding menace in the city, the BBMP council has approved a new draft advertising policy titled ‘BBMP Outdoor Signage and Public Messaging, 2018’ that calls for a ban on all illegal commercial billboards and hoardings in the city. The ban on illegal hoardings will not apply to advertising and branding on skywalks, public transit stations, bus queue shelters, or car-share and bike-sharing stations where firms have invested in advertising rights in advance. As per the new advertising policy, Bengaluru city has been divided into four advertising zones namely A, B, C, and D. Zone A includes areas such as Rajbhavan Road, Palace Road, Cubbon Park, Ambedkar Veedhi, Kumara Krupa Road etc, where no hoardings (including neons) are permitted. The policy also outlines that BBMP is the sole approving authority for all outdoor advertisement on private or public premises, building, property walls, roofs, parapets, and public structures such as, poles and lamp posts.

OOH industry welcomes move

OOH players feel that new advertising policy by BBMP is a step in the right direction.

“It is a good thing that BBMP has finally woken up to form a new advertising policy. They have been following a policy framed 50 years ago and it was never revised until now. It is important to keep the aesthetics of the city in mind if they want to make Bangalore an international standard city. There have been attempts in the past to revisit the policy, but to no avail. Let's hope they don't do that this time and the govt will go ahead and issue a notification,” said Arvind Kumar, Executive Director, Advertising Club, Bangalore.

The enforcement of this policy will benefit OOH players who are organised and provide for specific OOH/ DOOH platforms such as bus stations, railways, ticket counters, etc

Speaking about the new policy, Shriranga Sudhakara, Founder & Managing Director, Vyoma Media, said, “The new advertising policy by BBMP is a step in the right direction. Removing illegal hoardings and flexes across the city will create a positive impact on the city landscape and enhance the aesthetics of the city. The High Court of Karnataka and BBMP should be lauded for taking this bold step."

“Once a clear, well thought out policy is in place, the next important step is the strict enforcement of the guidelines. BBMP has in the past allowed a mushrooming of illegal hoardings and this should not happen this time. Only with proper enforcement will confidence come from vendors to invest in high quality OOH/Digital OOH assets.The policy should incentivise vendors to transition to Digital OOH by giving a moratorium on paying the license fee for a few years etc. The capital cost of moving to Digital OOH is extremely high and unless BBMP takes a proactive stance, this transition will not happen. If you look at global cities of the world such as, New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney, the city authorities have created friendly policies towards Digital OOH assets and hence has made it viable for vendors to invest in high quality assets,” added Sudhakara.

As per Surendra Kumar, Director at MyHoardings.com, the advertisement policy recently formed is a welcome move which curbs the menace of the illegal hoardings widely prevalent across Bangalore, but, the non-clarity on issuance of new licenses and the failure to provide ample options to brands for their promotional activities, seem to have defeated the purpose.

“'More is not always better. Blindly installing more OOH / DOOH assets only creates more clutter and law of diminishing utility comes into effect. The advertising and media agencies have realised the importance of quality over quantity. For instance, on MG Road, whether there are 200 billboards or 50 billboards, it will be the same eyeballs who will be looking at the billboards. Hence, providing aesthetically appealing designs that will make it pleasing for viewership is more important than having more assets which then will not attract any eyeballs and will be repulsive,” added Sudhakara.

“BBMP needs to realise this, and the same logic is true for their earnings also. Just by putting more displays it will not lead to more earnings and in this case ‘less is more’. As a Digital OOH company, we have experienced this first hand in the last 11 years of operations. For instance, we are present at the ticket counters, vis-a-vis point of transaction across 400+ railway and metro stations providing an invaluable utility to passengers, and on average each passenger’s dwell time is about 10 minutes. This allows brands to communicate their messages in an effective and meaningful manner. With the help of strategically placed digital displays at eye-level where 70 per cent of our displays feature branded content and the remaining 30 per cent show the passenger’s journey information, actually leads to more consumer engagement and visibility to brands, thereby enhancing ad spends and leading to higher earning for everyone in the ecosystem," said Sudhakara.

“The need of of the hour is a transparent tender process (for identified fixed number of hoarding spaces on government property) and invitations of applications from private property owners (which can be reviewed and filtered) to have limited OOH advertisement spaces in Bangalore. This approach in amalgamation with the recently announced advertising policy can provide a ray of hope that the ‘Outdoor Advertising Industry’ has been looking for since long,” said Surendra Kumar.

“Penetration of DOOH is constantly on the rise in Indian cities such as Bangalore, and the current advertisement policy, if implemented correctly has the potential to increase the revenue for alternate advertisement mediums apart from flex hoardings (bus stations and railway platform advertisements),” added Surendra Kumar.

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