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Home » OOH News » Karnataka Dy. CM DK Shivakumar, BBMP leadership outline new draft ad bylaws in meeting with Bengaluru OOH media owners

Karnataka Dy. CM DK Shivakumar, BBMP leadership outline new draft ad bylaws in meeting with Bengaluru OOH media owners

By Rajiv Raghunath - June 24, 2024

Decks being cleared for return of billboards in areas under BBMP jurisdiction

Karnataka Dy. CM D K Shivakumar addressing Bengaluru outdoor media owners

It was nearly six years ago, in August 2018 that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council passed a resolution banning all forms of outdoor advertising in the urban local body’s (ULB) jurisdiction following a Karnataka High Court directive for removal of all flexes and banners across the city.  The ban was enforced for a period of one year during which BBMP was expected to come out with a new advertisement policy. However, the issue dragged on, and when the BBMP Outdoor Signage and Public Messaging Byelaws 2019 was introduced, the Outdoor Advertising Association, Bengaluru went to Court to challenge its validity and eventually, in March 2023, the Court ruled in favour of the association and directed BBMP to permit outdoor advertising on private properties.

BBMP Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath at the meeting

BBMP has since drafted a new ad policy that now awaits the Government nod. Meanwhile, the civic body convened a meeting with media owners at its head office on June 21 to obtain a feedback on the broad principles of the envisaged BBMP Advertisement Bylaws 2024. Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Sivakumar himself presided over the meeting in the presence of the BBMP Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath, BBMP Special Commissioner for Revenue Munish Moudgil and other senior BBMP officials, wherein the media owners were introduced to the broad principles of the draft policy.

Media owners in attendance at the meeting convened by BBMP

At the outset, it was stated that the draft ad policy was defined on the line of Supreme Court approved Advertisement Policy of New Delhi Municipal Corporation. Further, under the new BBMP ad bylaws, the areas for outdoor advertising would be divided into areas, road stretches and circles, and the ad rights for each of the areas, roads and circles will be awarded to the highest bids received. Each area, road or circle will have maximum permissible advertising area. That is, a 100 metre road will have no more than 1,000 sq.ft of area for advertising, whereas a 1 lakh sq.ft area will have a maximum of 3,000 sq.ft. area for putting up outdoor media.

It was clearly mentioned that the permissible width and height of the media units will also be specified in the bylaws, and hence there will be no scope to put up extra large media units. At the same time, BBMP will allow for a variety of instruments for advertising including digital screens.

The bid winners shall individually obtain further clearances from any other authority on whole land media units are planned for installation. Not just that. The bid winner shall separately engage with government bodies and private land owners to negotiate the rentals to be paid. Once the bid for the ad rights are obtained, it will be incumbent on the bid winner to pay to BBMP the license fee without exception. Failure to do so will cause the particular agency to be blacklisted by the civic body.

To participate in the bid process, an agency shall get itself registered with BBMP for a fee of Rs 5 lakh (with some concessions for applicants belonging to SC/ST category).

It was stated that no advertisement other than self-advertisement will be permitted on any road that is less than 60 feet in width.

Also, the existing PPP and other contracts will not be impacted by the new ad bylaws.

The Dy. CM vehemently stated that the new bylaws will strive for uniformity in the placement of media as per the size and height of buildings, and permissions will not be awarded for random media placements. The quality of material to be used for billboards will be also be specified.

He also mentioned that entities that owe money to the government or have filed lawsuits will not be given any opportunities to bid for the ad rights. 

In the interactive session of the meeting, the Outdoor Advertising Association, Bengaluru leadership impressed upon the Dy. CM and BBMP officials to consider reinstating the rights of media owners who were operating some 1,800 legal media in the city prior to the 2018 ban. Banning the operations of those media owners and denying them their rights to do business and earn a livelihood while having adhered to the laws of the land was cited as a travesty of justice.

There were also concerns expressed over bid winners under the proposed new bylaws having to individually enter into agreements with government and private land owners for media installation, as such a scenario would cause the rentals to shoot up, especially since a bid winner would not have an exit from the BBMP contract without bearing the risk of being ‘blacklisted’.

While the media put up under the new bylaws may have PPP-based media operations in their proximity, some of the media owners present in the meeting pointed to lack of a level playing field for the two classes of media contracts.

The meeting concluded with BBMP informing that the policy will be put up online for obtaining suggestions and concerns from the general public, after which the draft bylaws shall be finalised, and readied for announcement and enforcement.

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