NEW DELHI: The outdoor media owners (OMOs) in the major metros are decidedly coming together to address the intractable issue of delayed payments from agencies. The OMOs have collectively expressed the need for credit norms that may be uniformly followed in all parts of the country. The Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) has taken upon itself the task of formulating a credit policy for the OOH industry. The association is currently discussing the draft policy norms with regional OOH associations, such as, the Maharashtra Hoarding Owners Association (MHOA) and the Delhi Outdoor Advertising Association (DOAA), before firming up the policy.
Discussing the way forward, Indrajit Sen, vice chairman, IOAA, and president - projects, Laqshya, told network2media that following the discussions with the regional OOH associations, IOAA shall finalise the credit policy and then approach the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) for its implementation.
Sen agreed that the DOAA has already taken strident steps to sort the payment problems that the OMOs face in the Delhi market. The regional association's credit policy could be synchronised with the IOAA's credit policy, once it is formalised, he said.
The IOAA is also in talks with other regional OOH associations in cities such as Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Pune to obtain their views on the proposed policy. Sen observed that "the credit issue has acted as a unifying factor for the OMOs."
In terms of size, the IOAA membership already accounts for 45-50 per cent of the national OMO revenues. However, the association's larger goal is to bring about a rules-based regime that helps the OMOs to shape the market, "rather than be market-driven".
In a fragmented market, the OMOs have largely functioned as vendors and not sellers. "We would want to strengthen the OMOs rights as sellers in the market," he said.
Sen said the IOAA credit policy is not an attempt at reinventing the wheel. Instead, the policy has been benchmarked with the credit norms followed by the Indian Newspapers Society (INS) and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF). He said that if the agencies have followed the credit norms laid down by the print and television media, they could do the same with respect to the OOH media.
Among the key provisions in the draft credit policy, the IOAA has strongly recommended the need for the industry to go back to the system of gross billing that includes the agency commission, instead of following the current practice of net billing. "This would ensure transparency in the transactions and protect the interests of the OMOs who are otherwise being squeezed in between the clients and the agencies," he said.
Sen also said that the IOAA policy would press for the issuance of release orders (ROs) and not just purchase orders (POs) before an OOH campaign is executed.
He said that the IOAA credit policy would be firmed in 4-5 months, and in that period, several other regional OOH associations would have deliberated on the proposed credit norms.