Can IOAA’s appeal to government deliver OOH from its financial woes?

Industry leaders share their thoughts on the association’s appeal to ease the burden on the OOH fraternity, which is profoundly impacted by the pandemic

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Published: Apr 29, 2020 10:02 AM  | 3 min read
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With the entire country on lockdown due to the global pandemic COVID-19, OOH advertising has been impacted profoundly. The uncertainty of when things will get back on track and the economic fallout are major stressors that the industry has been facing. A few days ago, an appeal was made by the IOAA (Indian Outdoor Advertising Association) to the central government, state governments, municipal corporations and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to provide measures to ease the financial burden on the Indian OOH industry. These measures included:

● Abolishing  ‘Advertisement Tax’ in any form whatsoever.
● Waiving off at least 50 per cent of the ‘Licence fee’ for the financial year 2020-21.
● Deferring the payment of GST for FY2020-21 - to be subsequently paid in FY2021-22.
● Deferring all tendering or auctioning activities related to outdoor media by all local bodies until September 2020 and continue with the existing licenses until then.
● Covering the cost of salaries and wages of those who have been infected by COVID-19 and who are unable to return to work.
● Declaring the pandemic as a natural calamity to be covered under the ‘Force Majeure’ clause of all contracts.

The IOAA cited a representation saying, “The outdoor media industry, with an estimated annual revenue of Rs 5,000 crore, could see a drop in revenue to the extent of almost Rs 2,500 crores in the coming financial year. The pandemic has put our business on a ‘Pause’ mode forcing unprecedented losses and impacting the livelihood of more than a million employed in the industry”.

e4m reached out to OOH Industry leaders to share if this appeal can be their saving grace for their financial woes.

Atul Shrivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group says, "There is no denying that the OOH landscape has been hit hard. Revenues have indeed dropped significantly. A strong and focussed initiative from the government bodies will definitely help the sector in uplifting itself. We too are in the process of coming up with hardcore strategies that can help us in dealing with this critical period."

Jayesh Yagnik, CEO, MOMS Outdoor Media Solutions feels that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a recession which is predicted to be worse than the 2008 recession. "IOAA has made quite reasonable demands to convene support from the relevant authorities which are imperative in such unprecedented times to protect people's livelihoods, facilitate business continuity and mobilize support for the OOH industry as a whole. We hope the government and the relevant authorities help out the OOH industry in terms of various relaxation which helps in stabilizing businesses to a certain degree. We sincerely hope that the various government authorities do considers the appeal made by OOH fraternity and help the industry to bounce back sooner", shared Yagnik.

Lastly, Anjum Tanwar, Vice President, Brandscope concluded saying, “Given the situation and impact that is being felt in the industry which also trickles down to people working in the space, it is only appropriate that some relief measures are facilitated. This would be unprecedented yet but definitely in good stead.”

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