It’s Lightout for OOH!



  • Most of the sophisticated light-emitting diode (LED) hoardings installed by operators have gone blank


Outdoor advertising is an incredibly rich and diverse medium that allows a very unique spectrum of creativity for designers to play with. Sometimes you have to catch someone’s attention in a split second, other times you can do something fun and interactive.

The quintessential element of outdoor advertising is of course the billboard. The medium is an interesting one. You have a huge amount of space that needs to be utilised properly so that it can be understood very quickly to people traveling at potentially high speeds.

This trend stealthily walked into the country’s outdoor advertising industry and suddenly interest among the stakeholders soared. Government now sees the medium as potential revenue earner while brands believe it possesses the power for good exposure.

In Nigeria, the industry has gone through a torrid moment in recent time. Needless to say that the entire integrated marketing communication industry has been through that rough parch too. But that of outdoor advertising has been immense because of the huge capital outlay it takes to get a board up.

Apart from increases investments in the sector that has seen equal increase in the numbers of LED billboards nationwide, the billboards are also used for beautification of streets and major roads particularly in Lagos.

The disappearance of 38, 48 and 68 sheet boards and many others archaic hoardings could be attributed to this innovation. One LED board could contain over 6 different advertisements unlike the static boards of old hence the reduction in the numbers of boards.

Because of this, the appeal has increased. Brands now spend more on outdoor advertising. For instance, in 2015, communication and telecommunication industry spent N4.4billion advertising on out-of-home while lager (beer) sector spent N3billion.

Since 2006, the industry has consistently enjoyed increased marketing spend. The OOH advertising expenditure trends in the last 10 years shows that in 2006 the OOH advertising expenditure was N7.4billion.

The expenditure trend follow thus:

2007- N7.1billion,

2008- N9.5billion,

2009- N24.3billion,

2010- N28.6billion,

2011 N28.1billion,


2013-N23.2 billion,

2014- N20.5 billion

2015- N20.1billion.

one-of-the-vacant-boards-on-gbagadaTo underscore the importance of the industry, only television and print media attracted more than Outdoor in media spend. Mediafacts, the authoritative report on adspend in West Africa, revealed that television stations attracted the highest advertising expenditure of N39 billion in 2015. The report also put the advertising expenditure attracted by the print media, outdoor and radio stations at N23.7 billion, N20.1 billion and N15.1 billion; respectively.

The report said, “the 2014/2015 electioneering campaigns and the successful change in government may have positively impacted on the advertising spends in 2015 as it records a positive growth of about 4.8per cent over 2014 total media spend.”

Outdoor business is a capital intensive one said Femi Ogala, Secretary General of Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, OAAN. An average OOH LED installation is estimated at N200million.

Last year, Media View and LASACO Properties and Investment Limited, a subsidiary of LASACO Assurance Group sunk over N400million into a billboard at the Oworonshoki end of 3rd Mainland Bridge in Lagos.

Media 2 also spent over N20million to fix collapsing LED billboard on 3rd Mainland Bridge. Several other operators are forced to abandon sites as result of high interest rate from banks, extortion from touts, multiple taxations from Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) and local government council officials.

The impact of recession has been enormous too. Early this year, Glo suspended its outdoor advertising plan nationwide. Airtel followed by slicing its OOH budget. MTN, one of the biggest OOH advertisers gave up the Maryland tunnel as a result of cuts in outdoor budget.

In the lager segment, Guinness Nigeria has not embarked on any OOH campaign since the beginning of the year. Only Star and Heineken continued to push the market.

The investments by players in the sector are at risk with the recession biting hard. BRANDish investigations reveal over a dozen of super LED billboards in Lagos that have remained vacant.

Ogala, who spoke about the vacant boards in Lagos attributed the trend to recession and LASAA. “I don’t know the numbers but recession and LASAA are responsible for the empty boards in Lagos.”

Investigations further revealed that brands are going digital because of the expensive nature of outdoor hence the vacant billboards across Lagos.


Sources told 789MARKETING that another factor that has contributed to this sorry state of outdoor advertising in Nigeria is the dearth in political advertisement. Because of the recession and present government that frown at extravagant lifestyle, politicians have stopped advertising. “They were those who pay whatever rates outdoor agencies put on them and now that there is none of that, they – operators – will feel the pinch,” one of the industry experts said.

The increasing boycott of this medium by brands, and government means the N20.1billion advertising expenditurerecorded last year will be a mirage this year. Job lossesare also a terrible consequence while Lagos State’s purported beautification will suffer.

The streets have gone dark again.