‘Amphan’ sends West Bengal, Odisha OOH into a tailspin
By Ria Banerjee - May 26, 2020
Physical damage to the outdoor advertising assets have compounded the business losses caused by the pandemic situation
The super cyclone ‘Amphan’ has reportedly caused damages to the OOH business in West Bengal and Odisha adding up to over Rs 15 crore. The extreme weather caused severe damage to outdoor advertising assets located at EM Bypass Road, VIP Road, Rajabazar, Jadavpur in Kolkata, Hooghly, Titagarh and South 24 Parganas in West Bengal.
The impact of Amphan has added to the woes of the industry that is reeling under the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns. Arup Chowdhury, President, West Bengal Outdoor Advertising Association (WBOAA), said, “The effect of COVID-19 has largely disrupted the outdoor advertising business and now ‘Amphan’ has delivered a massive blow to this industry. To survive the debacle, WBOAA has approached the municipal authorities for a waiver of the corporation tax on the outdoor advertising business for the fiscal year 2020-21.” The KMC has also been approached for removal of the hoardings structures that collapsed on the roads in the face of the super cyclone.
In Odisha, the media owners were forewarned of the cyclone and directed to remove the outdoor advertising structures in areas like Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore but still there were damages caused to the assets in Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur and Balasore.
The restrictions on people movement in the event of the lockdown inhibited the media owners from removing many of the structures as directed. For instance, Bhubaneshwar-based Torrent Advertisers had removed 20%-25% of their outdoor advertising structures in Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Jagatsinghpur before the cyclone made the landfall. Removal of flexes from other areas such as Ganjam, Balasore and Bhadrak was challenging as those areas were in the Red Zone.
Niranjan Dash, Executive Member, Odisha Outdoor Advertising Association pointed out, “At this time when the workforce is less and with the restriction on people movement on the roads, OOH firms were helping one another for removal of flexes.”
The impact of the super-cyclone apart, the OOH business in Odisha was also hit as the famous Ratha Yatra had been halted because of the ongoing COVID crisis, said N. Dash, Managing Partner, Torrent Advertisers. However, he expects the business recovery to begin by July.