‘N13.4bn Media Advertising Spend Unaccounted for in 2016’

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By Raheem Akingbolu

An estimated N13.4billion representing 54% of total media advertising spend in 2016 were neither executed nor implemented on time as agreed between the media and the advertisers.

According to a special investigation conducted in the first quarter of this year by mediaedge.com, an online marketing portal,  an estimated N13.4billion of media advertising, which would have been paid for was either misplaced (i.e. advert not carried as planned and ordered) or unaccounted for (i.e. advert not monitored to be sure it was carried in the first place). The situation was compounded by allegations that some media monitoring service providers might have been conniving with some radio and television stations as well as media agency employees to issue questionable, even fraudulent media compliance report over the years.

The report authoritatively stated that a radio station in the North claimed 100% compliance in the month of January 2017 but was proved wrong after back checks by a leading media monitoring service provider. The online portal indicated that in another situation, one of the three media monitoring service providers had given a zero compliance on a media campaign that none of the advert spots earlier booked by an advertiser was carried at all or on time as planned and ordered.

Findings further revealed that the dispute involving a media agency, a broadcast station and a media monitoring service agency was finally resolved February 2017 through the hiring of another media monitoring service provider who used its audio-playback facility. This no doubt confirmed earlier fears of a tripartite conspiracy in the Nigerian media market.

“It was gathered that some broadcast stations have been alleged to be in the habit of doctoring advert logs. Our intelligence team discovered the case of an Ibadan based TV station, which after a lot of back and forth with an advertiser had the dispute resolved only after the station’s logs for that particular month were backed with air-side-audio files from a media monitoring service provider,” the report stated.

It has however been established by the marketing publication firm that lack of standards in the media monitoring space and the abuse and fraud that results there from is not limited to some media monitoring service firms and broadcast organisations and their employees.

“Our intelligence unit also gathered authoritatively that in one instance, a Finance Director of a leading multinational company summoned the Head of Marketing of his organisation and also invited a media monitoring service provider whose reports allegedly resulted in huge savings on media spend for verification. At the end of the meeting, there was evidence that the marketing executives of the said company in collusion with the interfacing officials of broadcast organisation, had been creaming off media spend.

“At a time when businesses are under profit pressures from the economic recession while there remains a compelling need by the advertisers to invest even more in media advertising to cope with keen competition in the marketplace, it remains a mystery why and how business leaders seem to look the other way when it comes to transparency and accountability on the media advertising front. Why they would expend so much time and effort in ensuring raw materials and other inputs are delivered as per quality prescription, on time and within budget but lower the bar when it comes to media advertising deliveries.”

Commenting on this issue, a seasoned statistician and media specialist, Mr. Taiwo Olowokere attributed the problem to poor awareness and lack of interest by captains of industries and business owners to scrutinise the reliability of their service provider and the veracity of the media compliance reports that they provide. According to Olowokere, ‘companies and corporations will continue to spend huge billions of naira on media advertising without gaining requisite value for money as long as the Chief Executive Officers of these corporations fail to show more than a passing interest in the yearly media budget and how it was spent’.