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MIB frames new guidelines for govt ads in outdoor media

New rules framed for rate fixation and release of government’s outdoor publicit.

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NEW DELHI: Out-of-home advertising took a hit during the Covid2019 pandemic, but with gradual easing of restrictions and increasing number of people stepping out, the sector is seeing a revival. With the onset of the election season in the country, outdoor advertising is set to get a further boost. Now, ahead of assembly elections in four key states and one Union Territory, the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has released a new set of policy guidelines for the Union government’s outdoor media publicity. 

The policy guidelines aim to provide the stakeholders a clear understanding of parameters and process of selection, job award, rate fixation and other related aspects for transparent and efficient execution of outdoor publicity.

While the guidelines do not specify a standard rate for outdoor advertising, unlike for print, TV and the like, the objective is to streamline standard practices with regard to payment release and other processes with regard to outdoor advertising government contracts. Towards this purpose, the guidelines classify all forms of outdoor publicity into five categories viz, outdoor (such as hoardings, display boards, bus panels etc), personal (which includes public media for individual usage like utility bills, railway tickets etc) and others.

According to the revised rules, the government nodal agency Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) will determine the rates on the recommendation of a rate committee. The committee will submit its recommendations to the principal director general/director general of the BOC, who will be the competent authority for determination of rates.  

Some of the key factors to be considered during rate fixation are the location, visibility, reach and coverage of the media. The display size, market value and media viability, license fee, in addition to the uniqueness and innovation offered by the media are some of the other determining factors.

The policy states that “BOC will normally approve rates in the range of 60-75 per cent of the average commercial rate depending on factors such as city and State/ Union Territory (UT) where media is located, visibility of media etc, provided the commercial work orders are credible.” It also says that “BOC may specify minimum quality criteria for material or display (viz, quality of flex/vinyl, resolution of LCD/ LED screens, etc) before rate fixation.”

According to the guidelines, in order to be eligible for empanelment an agency has to fulfil the following criteria :

·       The agency should have at least three years experience in outdoor media. For start-up companies/agencies, the period may be relaxed to one year.

·       It should have a minimum turnover of Rs 1 crore per annum in the last two financial years, if it is participating in all India bid and Rs 25 lakh per annum, if it is participating in a state-wise bid. The agencies will be required to provide the documentary evidence of the same. For start-up companies, the minimum turnover criteria may be waived, if the start-up is registered with Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT)

·       It should either have the capability to print the material on its own or should have arrangements with other vendors for getting the hoarding/digital wall painting, etc work done.

·       Additionally, in order to be eligible to participate in all India tender of hoardings, an agency needs to have authorised access to at least 50 sites each, across at least five States/UTs in case of hoardings. It should also have offices across five or more states. If an agency has authorised access to at least 50 sites each in a minimum of one and maximum of four states, then it can bid for rates across concerned States/ UTs.

·       Similarly, in case of wall paintings/digital wall paintings, the agency needs to have executed work of at least 50,000 square feet of area each, across at least five states/ UTs in the last one year. Only then the agency will be eligible to participate in all-India tender of wall paintings/digital wall paintings. In addition, it should have offices across five or more states in order to be eligible for all-India bid.

·       Additionally, an agency must submit photographs of work orders executed in the past six months. BOC may also ask for a list of sites with geo-tags along with video tours of the sites in order to assess the viability of the sites from BOC’s perspective.

The guidelines also specify that, “BOC reserves the right to physically inspect the official premises of the agency as well as the sites available with the agency.” And that in order to be eligible, “the agency should not have been disqualified by BOC or been a defaulter of BOC in five years preceding the date of application. The agency should not have been blacklisted by the central government or any state government.” It concludes by stating, “The agency should be compliant with all laws of the land.”

These guidelines will come into effect from the date of notification by BOC and will supersede all its earlier internal guidelines. These guidelines will be applicable to all the existing media/ locations already on BOC panels as well as the ones which are taken on BOC panels in future. It would act as the common point of reference for all the stakeholders.

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