Chairman, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), Mr John Ugbe has called for a holistic approach towards addressing various challenges militating against revenue generation and growth of the media and advertising industry in Nigeria.

Mr Ugbe who gave the charge in Abuja during a courtesy visit to the Registrar/CEO of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Dr Olalekan Fadolapo, underscored the need for robust policy and innovation.

He said: “One of the things I put out as part of what I wanted to do was to grow the industry. I think the industry cannot grow without advertising.

“We wanted to thank APCON for the introduction of some of the new policies. These we believe will help resolve these long problems of industry debt that we have lived with. I spoke about the debt of our advertising industry, and I don’t see how smaller African countries, some smaller than Nigeria will have a deeper advertising industry than us here. And some of it may be due to this long-standing industry debt.

“Being an advertiser, I see another problem, I think some reaction to some of the policies you tried to put in place, shows that the problem has to be tackled from different perspectives.

“I think if these policies are well implemented, it will be very helpful to all the media organizations. So the entire ecosystem will really benefit from it. We also think it’s important to get to good standard measurements. We know that in an attempt at fixing this, but we also know there have been several conversations from members of BON, because we think the problem is not yet well addressed.

“I think BON also feel every solution should not become a revenue-generating opportunity from the industry because the industry as it is, is already suffering. However, there’s a commitment from BON to come to the table to get that measurement in place because at the end of the day it pushes our members to excel. Measurement doesn’t mean winner takes all, but it’s important that the measurement is accepted by all.

“Once we get to that point I think it becomes very easy and transparent, also it will encourage members of BON to actually invest work harder and at the end of the day we have a bigger and better industry; which obviously leads to a bigger advertising industry to support it.

“BON is definitely ready to partner with APCON on these policies to ensure it’s beneficial to all the parties. BON is in full support ISOP that was recently introduced. We think it’s a landmark and we love to work with APCON. We will like to work with APCON to look at any other innovations that will come into the industry and bring about positive developments in the media industry in Nigeria. I’m sure with bigger broadcast industry, even advertisers will be happy with that,” Mr Ugbe assured.

On his part, APCON Registrar/CEO, Dr Olalekan Fadolapo who underscored the importance of revenue to the survival of media industry operating in the country, called for synergy among the actors in the industry.

“I have had reasons to tell people that advertising income is primarily to the goal concern of any media house. Be it broadcast or print. It’s very strategic. For the private sector most percentage of their income depends on advertising. And so many impunity, fortunately for me I have been in this industry for over two decades.

“And I’m a part of different reforms. The major problem of the industry firstly is debt. It’s a tripod; you have the client, agencies and media. The media are at the mercy of both the client and agencies. We want this industry moved from unstructured to structured, so must have rules, regulations and framework that will guide the operations,” he noted.

While noting that the Council set up a committee to work on the modalities with a view to build a new foundation for the future of the industry, he lamented that: “unfortunately when the thing was done and we came up with a report, the Advertisers that were supposed to be part of that conversation were not frequent at the meeting.

“We are head bent on going ahead with this. A few things I think affect the broadcast media is the regulation of media rates. Before now, before October 6, if a media house chose to increase its media rates, the advertisers will say no we will determine your rates for you. And we will determine how far we can go. So what’s APCON saying? Media houses should be free to determine their rates. It’s a free market economy, nobody sits down and determine what rates advertisers sells their products. If you look at the system very well media houses are dying. The ones that are existing are in a coma.

“So should we fold our arms and allow everything to go? We are not the primary regulator of the media, but should not sit down and allow this. So if you people have the freedom to decide what you’re selling, the other people should also have the freedom to decide how much they want to sell.

“Before now the law of the advertising is that if you want to increase your rate you must give 90 days’ notice for it to be effective. So you write to the Agencies, Advertisers. And we said no, technology has taken a role in this whole conversation and there’s improvement in account planning, media management, so one month is okay.

“One month for them to re-adjust their media plan so that they can accommodate the rate. What was the pushback? The Advertisers said no, what’s your own headache, the media houses are not complaining so why is APCON doing this? We told them that it’s a directive from the Federal Government that post-pandemic all regulators must look at their circle, come up with inclusive policies that will drive the economy.

“We can’t just sit and fold our arms. If we want to grow the industry we must look at all the stakeholders and see where we can promote fair play and equity,” he noted.