10 February 2013

Nigeria: Brand Managers - Our Loss From Afcon TV Blackout

Raheem Akingbolu writes on how the blackout of the local television stations from broadcasting the African Cup of Nations dealt a blow on marketing communication businesses.

For most Nigerians who are denied the opportunity to watch the African Cup of Nations on terrestrial television, the loss is only about not having the opportunity to catch their fun moments through their local television stations. But to brand managers, agency owners and owners of broadcasting stations, it is a multiple loss.

Speaking with THISDAY in Lagos, the President of Public Relations Consultant Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), Mr. Chido Nwakanma and the Executive Secretary, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, Mr. Lekan Fadolapo said the blackout has multiplying effects on the economy.

Nigeria was not allowed to transmit the AFCON 2013 soccer tournament on terrestrial TV because the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria and LC2 - AFCON's TV broadcast owner - didn't agree on the 4.5 million Euros requested by the latter.

According to the PRCAN boss, who described the blackout as a loss of opportunities, "Though the blackout is a loss to football audience it has also denied Nigeria of the exchange that would have come with the tournament. That is why the greatest losers are brand managers and advertising agencies who would have leveraged on it to make some positioning statements and of course we know what that means. In fact, everybody in that value change is affected; from the broadcasting stations to creative agencies."

In his own view, Mr. Fadolapo admitted that the most hit was the electronic media but added that the media buying agencies and their creative counterparts are also counting losses. "You can imagine what would have happened by the time Nigeria defeated Mali. Hours after that, many organisations would have rushed to their creative agencies to develop concepts that would be appropriate for that moment. From anywhere one chooses to look at it, I think the denial will in no small measure affect total advertising spending and by extension the economy,"

This is also the view of the Managing Director of Next Media, a media and communication agency, Mr. Dada Ajai-Ikhile, who stated that "Audience delivery business like marketing communication is about volume and you we all know how many people would have been reached if the local television stations had had access to the broadcast. In a way, it affected a lot of marketing communication consultants who had thought the platform would be good enough to leveraged upon," he said.

However, despite the loss, the Chief Executive Officer of HotSports, a Sports Marketing Company, Mr. Taye Ige has hailed the decision of the Federal Government for not falling for what he described as "the discriminatory treatment" of the broadcast owner. Like other marketing communication practitioners, Ige agreed that businesses have been lost in millions of naira but argued that Nigeria needed to make a point by calling their bluff.

He said; "South Africa reportedly paid 2million dollars, why then should Nigeria cough out as much as 4.5 million euros? In 2012 in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, Hotsports negotiated and was given the right at 2million dollars if we are paying upfront and 2.2million dollars otherwise. Can anybody tell me why it has now gone up this much now?

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has appealed to Nigerians over its inability to broadcast the live matches. Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku explained that the country was unable to broadcast because of the highly exploitative price tag placed on the broadcast rights. Maku offered this explanation at Osemotor, Imo State during project inspections as part of the National Good Governance Tour.

The minister said it was necessary for Nigeria to call their bluff because they were not willing to bring down the price despite efforts by the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON). He also explained that BON advised government not to intervene, or use public funds to pay any agent because it was not good to our country and the agent had not treated the nation fairly.

"All efforts made by BON through the agent LC2 did not work. You can imagine that from 8 million Euros they came to 6 million then 4.5 million Euros; so you can see that it is not a scientific charge, it is a kind of casino pricing," he said

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