Armed with authorisations from outdoor media companies located in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata, which are also the four large outdoor media markets in India, the Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) has firmed up new business practices and a new credit policy which it intends to reveal to outdoor specialist agencies in a meeting to be held soon.
The IOAA consists of the six big companies amongst its founder members and Board of Governors, namely Times OOH, SELVEL Publicity, Pioneer Publicity, Laqshya Media, Selvel-Vantage Group and Jagran Engage.
With the last budget announcing drastic changes in the service tax regime, which would mean some serious increase in working capital for the entire business, the IOAA has now squarely placed establishment of industry best practices and a transparent billing and credit policy as its topmost priority.
This has spurred the industry, which consists of a large number of small and medium-sized operators, to come together to create conditions that can help continue business without serious financial effect, which, otherwise, could threaten existence for a large number of them.
With the city associations in the largest markets demanding immediate action, the IOAA now has the mandate to take lead in implementing nation-wide policies for this industry.
"Hence, the time has come for a few crucial and formal practices to be adopted. I'm sure we'll get full support from agencies that have long term plans and commitments to this industry as this is a big step in the right direction for long term stability and growth of OOH (out of home) in India."
The proposed new business practices to be implemented include the issue of release orders prior to start of display, change in minimum display period and finally, specification of a credit control mechanism consisting of a specified credit period and a process of adjudicating on defaults.
If implemented, together with some process announcements on third party certification of display (which the agencies are reportedly demanding), this is likely to be a defining step for the industry, which can result in higher spending on outdoors because of increased transparency and relatively trouble-free deliverables.
The IOAA is in the final stages of consulting the city-based associations of outdoor media businesses all over the country to ensure that implementation is smooth.