IOAA expects positive outcome of steps taken to support industry
By Bhawana Anand - June 18, 2020
The association, by taking multiple steps, ensures OOH industry sail through the difficult situation by approaching government and authorities
At the time of Covid19 crisis, the Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) board has been working continuously to ensure that the Indian OOH industry remains afloat during the uncertain time posed by the sudden global health crisis. To do so, the national body has approached various government ministries and other concerned authorities in order to get the industry cover from liabilities, for the current situation as well as for long run. IOAA official spokesperson shares with Media4Growth about the steps taken by them. Below are the edited excerpts.
How is IOAA working towards helping the industry, grappling with losses due to Covid19?
The lockdown announcement and its impact on the outdoor media business are not unknown to any of us. We are a pan-India association and knew that we have a big advantage because of this
Our manifold strategy to help the industry:
- It was imperative that we make all our channel partners, be it our customer or our vendor, aware of the fact that the pandemic shall squarely be governed under Force Majeure clause. We got in touch with many of the municipal corporations and the Indian Railway boards that the epidemic should be treated under Force Majeure clause.
- Also, it was important to ensure that the present contracts are continued without any changes. We requested a freeze on all e-auctioning activities and fresh tendering processes during the pandemic.
- With no revenue during the lockdown period, the media owners had to honour their fixed commitments including payment of licence fees to the local corporations. We have made representations to various municipal authorities and railway boards for licence fee waive off during the lockdown period, with an extension of six months post lockdown. This is the minimum period that we felt would be needed for the industry to stand on its feet.
- Similarly, we made representations for rent waive off for the hoarding sites.
- Liquidity has been another issue that the industry has been tackling for a long time and more so during this pandemic since payments were not made for many of the campaigns conducted during previous year.
There is substantial amount receivable from the government for campaigns undertaken during 2019. We approached the DAVP to expedite the payments process for the same.
Similarly, we have been having meetings with all the agencies, requesting them to clear the overdue payments of our members.
You have approached urban ministry, finance ministry and also have knocked the doors of prime minister’s office. Which are the crucial points that have been raised for the benefit of the industry?
We firmly believe that GST rate slab for our industry is high and if appropriately presented to the GST council and the finance ministry, we shall surely be able to get a reduction in the rate. For the Covid19 impacts, we have been making representations to abolish Advertisement tax and waive off for the license fees. We are sure our efforts will result positively.
What kind of a role PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) is playing in this difficult time?
The PHDCCI has been helping us to escalate our problems to the prime minister and the finance ministry. They have been instrumental in presenting the liquidity crisis, being faced by the industry, to the DAVP and as we understand the DAVP, which has been sensitive to our problems, is in the process of releasing payment to the media companies.
IOAA had approached DAVP to clear dues, which hasn’t happened yet. What way forward are you planning in this regard?
A clear directive has been issued by DAVP for release of payments and we expect the same to gain momentum.
The media owners of respective cities are trying to get a fee waive off from their municipal corporations, how can IOAA help them?
IOAA has been recognised as an ‘All India’ body, representing the interests of the outdoor media industry. This is obvious from the fact that our members are getting certain privileges at the time of tendering at many municipal corporations. We are positive that with our backing, many of our members have been able to coordinate with the corporations for a fee waive off.
Currently, there is a challenge in front of media owners to get previous dues cleared by the agencies but for that, the agencies are asking for huge discounts. Can IOAA help media owners in sorting this matter?
We look IOAA playing only an advisory role in this regard. A commercial term, whether it is acceptable or not, is a business decision and we don’t think we should be imposing ourselves. But on our part, we have been speaking to various agencies and advising them to be fair in their commercial expectations during these challenging times.