FG inaugurates task team on audience measurement to boost broadcast growth

The Nigeria marketing and media advertising environment is set to witness a paradigm shift on return on clients’ advertising investments and expenditures as the Federal Government inaugurated an 8-man task team on audience measurement, hitherto the bane of growth in the sector.

Audience measurement measures how many people are in the audience, usually in relation to radio listenership and television viewership, but also in relation to newspaper and magazine readership and increasingly, web traffic on websites.

Inaugurating the task team virtually in Abuja earlier last month, the Honourable Minister of Information & Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the initiative marks the birth of a new dawn in the nation’s broadcast industry, noting that the drive for the Digital Switch-Over (DSO) of the Television from analogue is now well underway.

His words: “With this task team, we are today heralding a new dawn in our broadcast industry. The Digital Switch Over (DSO) of our television from analogue is now well under-way, and we are set to announce a new accelerated agenda, in order to ensure that the DSO becomes a veritable tool to help lift the creative industry out of crippling effect of Covid-19.”

Members of the 8-man task team are: Alhaji Bello Garba Kankarofi, Former Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), who will serve as Chairman of the Committee. Others are Mr. Obi Asika, Founder and Chairman of Dragon Africa; Hajia Sa’aa Ibrahim, President, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON); Mr. Mahmoud Ali-Balogun, Chief Executive Officer of BrickHouse Media and Mrs. Pauline Ehusani, Assistant Director, Monitoring at National Broadcasting Commission. Other members of the team are Mr. Tolu Ogunkoya, Group Chief Executive Officer of Media Reach and Past President of Media Independent Association of Nigeria (MIPAN) and Joe Mutah, a Media Practitioner with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria who will serve as the committee’s secretary and lately, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha, Acting Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of APCON.

The Honourable Minister, who expressed delight at the caliber of men appointed for the task disclosed that overtime, audience measurement has been the missing link in the entire ecosystem.

Nonetheless, he pointed out that with the present efforts, audience measurement will make the nation’s Digital Switch Over sustainable for signal distributors, channel owners, Y+TV content producers and Advertisers.

However, Alhaji Mohammed said: “Without it, we will not see the growth in our television and the value creation in the creative industry that the economy and people of Nigeria so need.

“We need an objective and scientific Audience measurement system that articulates the value of the content to consumers, as well as the value of the audience to advertisers, particularly in the television sector.”

Continuing, the Minister said: “The absence of a world-class measurement regime has resulted in under-investment in the sector, which is necessary to foster the growth of the industry, as the advertising community continues to rely on subjective factors when making decisions on the content they want, as opposed to how many viewers the content truly attracts.

“As a consequence, television platforms are subjected to renting out space on their channels to sustain their businesses, and content producers are at the mercy of sponsors which, unfortunately, skews the authenticity of their creative output in favor of a few decision makers, instead of the millions of TV viewers.”

“The existing model, he revealed “will never enable Nigeria’s Creative Industry to reach its full potential as it stunts the quality of the content that can be created and also limits the capacity of television platforms to invest in dynamic contents that consumers will be attracted to”.

“Furthermore, the value of Nigeria’s Broadcast Advertising Market is not proportional to the country’s population, when compared to the Top 3 Markets in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite having a population more than three times that of South Africa, Nigeria’s Television Advertising Revenue in 2016 was US$309 million, compared to that of South Africa, which was US$1,301 million”.

Consequently, he said: “It is imperative that we urgently put in place an Industry Framework that will ensure that content producers receive their just due for the value of the content they create, as well as provide objective guarantees to the Advertising community on their Return-On-Investment on media placements. This will then have the overall effect of guaranteeing greater spend by the Advertisers, who are all seeking to grow their market share.

“This Industry Framework can only happen if the Ministry of Information and Culture, which fortunately supervises both the Broadcast and Advertising industries, serves as a catalyst for putting in place a robust Audience Measurement System that is in line with global standards and supports the realization of the immense potential that the Nigerian Creative Industry holds.”

Currently, the minister hinted that government is subsidizing the signal distribution because the channels cannot pay for the carriage of their stations by the licensed Signal Distributors, who have invested in equipment and transmission. Things cannot continue like this. Government cannot continue to subsidize television forever, hence the need to create a sustainable ecosystem.

“The Broadcast Industry needs an Audience Measurement system that will encourage investment, mainly through increased Advertising spend driven by confidence in the Audience Ratings data. An incremental Advertising Revenue will encourage current and prospective channel owners to create additional television channels necessary for the success of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).

“In light of the above, I am today inaugurating this committee of industry experts to help solve the Audience Measurement issue in Nigeria, once and for all. The Terms of Reference of the Task Teams are:

– Identify best practice Audience Measurement System that will support the sustainable growth of the Nigeria Creative Industry;

– Recommend a Framework for supporting the sustainability of the Audience Measurement System, independent of the Federal Government;

– Recommend a Payment and Disbursement Framework among the key stakeholders in the industry, that is, the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON), Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN) and the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN).”

Finally in his statement, the Honourable Information Minister said: “Bringing Nigerian TV advertisement market to what it should be, which is two to three times the current size, could result in additional US$200 to US$400 million of revenue to the industry. This is our next task and we invite all well-meaning practitioners in this industry to join hands with us to achieve this.”


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