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Control of unauthorised media is a win-win proposition: P B Abdul Rehman

By Rajiv Raghunath - November 17, 2014

P B Abdul Rehman, Managing Director, Diamond Publicities (P) Ltd, says that civic bodies will have major revenue windfall by rooting out unauthorised media. He also advocates a'hire & purchase' model for outdoor infrastructure

The outdoor industry in Bengaluru and rest of Karnataka has survived against all odds because the authorised outdoor media continues to be a key source of revenue for the civic bodies. However, the authorised media is being excessively controlled, whereas the unauthorised media has no checks. Today, the number of unauthorised media units far exceeds the authorised units, queering the pitch for the outdoor industry as a whole. Highlighting this situation, P B Abdul Rehman, Manager Director, Diamond Publicities (P) Ltd, a leading OOH media owning firm based in Bengaluru, told Outdoor Asia that the authorities should create an enabling environment for the authorised media to grow and outnumber unauthorised media in the city and region.

Rehman said the authorities needs to take cognizance of the dividends that accrue from encouraging outdoor industry growth. For instance, when the Government collects property tax, there is an obligation to give people better access to power, roads and other infrastructure. However, collection of advertisement revenues does not entail such costs. In Bengaluru alone, the civic body could raise revenues of around Rs 18 crore by collecting Rs 1 lakh per hoarding. Currently, there are some 1,800 authorised hoardings in the city.

When asked if a website providing details of authorised media will help curb the business of unauthorised media, Rehman said such a website should cover the entire lot of media, else it will not work. "So, regularise the unauthorised media before moving the entire data to the website,” he said.

Talking about self-regulation, Rehman said the industry itself could monitor and map the presence of unauthorised media, share those details with the industry association which in turn could take up the issue with the civic body for suitable action on the matter.

Further, to reinforce the functioning of the outdoor advertising association in the city, Rehman said the day-to-day operations of the association should be left to a team of professionals led by an eminent person like a retired bureaucrat who can hold discussions with top Government decision makers.

Rehman suggested that as the contract periods for media like hoardings are only limited to a few years, media owners who invest in such infrastructure should be able to earn some income from that infrastructure once their contract period lapses. This would be possible if the association can offer'hire & purchase' services covering such infrastructure, wherein a firm that bags a new contract can hire or purchase the available infrastructure, and a major part of that income could go to the firm that had initially invested in the infrastructure.

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