Stakeholders call for repositioning of OOH at OAAN conference

By Felicia Nwosu  

Industry experts at the maiden edition of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) Conference, Exhibition and Awards, have called for a paradigm shift that will redefine and reposition the outdoor advertising ecosystem. They enjoined all stakeholders’ hands to be on deck to attain growth through freedom of practice and provision of an enabling and conducive business environment.

The industry conference, which was held at the cosy ambience of Marriot Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, witnessed the presence of key players in the advertising industry and guests from other sectors of the economy. The theme of the conference was: “OOH at the Edge ” and supported with a sub-theme: “OOH Media Amidst Security, Political and Economic Uncertainties”.

Soni Irabor, Veteran broadcaster, and the keynote speaker, explored Nigeria’s OOH journey in the Nigerian advertising industry, while comparing it with its global counterparts.

Irabor, who said the online has come to stay, however, stressed that the importance of OOH cannot be downplayed because it attracts a higher percentage share of advertising. He noted that while the wide reach and low spend of radio drives high effectiveness over all, the fragmented nature of radio audiences makes it difficult to capture wider audiences with one campaign.

According to him, television and radio have continued to experience a stable growth while there is a glaring decline with the print media for obvious reasons. Irabor reaffirmed the huge impact of the pandemic on OOH and revealed that the sector is expected to grow about 3-6% in the next five to six years. He reassured the industry with the fact that it witnessed a sharp recovery in 2021 and now accounts for 18% of advertising growth.

“In the current digital age, the industry has evolved to interactive visuals through various elements of display which have helped to drive reach across locations to a new era of digital outdoor advertising. Lagos and Abuja are leading in the large LED display. The Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) has the biggest market share in Nigeria, making the government an active competitor in a private sector driven business. Should the government be involved in this kind of business,” he asked?

The advertising expert listed some of the challenges militating against the growth of the outdoor advertising industry, some of which include the huge cost of deploying digital equipment with a view to transitioning from static to digital outdoor practice.

“Basic problems include irregular public electricity supply and over-dependence on diesel powered generators which is very expensive and adversely affects the smooth running of OOH. Insecurity, especially with the upcoming elections, economic woos and rising inflation are all factors making the OOH to be on the edge,” he added.

Muda Yusuf (Centre for The Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), responded to the keynote speech from the business perspective and lauded the resilience of the association. He recounted how the association has been able to survive in a hostile business environment like Nigeria, especially in the critical aspects and risk involvement which it is exposed to. He urged practitioners to challenge the status quo by using institutions of the state.

“Many businesses are facing challenges especially in the liquidity market. Apart from that, we are experiencing serious corruption in the foreign exchange market. The problem with institutions is the biggest challenge businesses are facing just like those in advertising and their clients. There is no economy where you have a business of almost 90% between the official rate and the parallel market window where an economy can function well. Inflationary situation is extremely bad.

“It takes a lot of innovation, creativity and resilience to remain standing in the midst of all these challenges, especially operating in an industry where the regulator is also the competitor; there is nothing that can be as bad as that. We have some legislation and laws in this country; I think you should also have the courage to bring some sanity to some of these things. We have competition law, and from time to time, you should challenge some of these legislative practices that are not favourable to your business. We are in a democracy,” Yusuf said.

Osamede Uwunbanmwen, President of Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), also empathized with the practitioners, while reaffirming that outdoor will continue to exist as long as there is movement of people across locations. He mentioned that running OOH is capital intensive and urged OAAN members to leverage data as well as collaborate for easier operations.


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