Speech By The HMIC, Alh. Lai Mohammed, at The Inauguration of The Audience Measurement Task Force




Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. First, our sincere apologies for the change in the time earlier scheduled for this inauguration. We had to move the event to this time so it won’t clash with the unveiling of the rice pyramids by Mr. President in Abuja today.

2. Today’s inauguration is the culmination of a series of events which we have embarked upon to deliver a world class, scientific audience measurement system for Nigeria. Let me give a brief chronology of some of those events. We kick-started the process by setting up the Task Team on Audience Measurement, chaired by Alhaji Garba Bello-Kankarofi, a team that delivered a first-class report. We then followed that up with the selection of First Media and Entertainment Integrated (Nigeria) Limited, a marketing research company based in Lagos, to deliver audience measurement services in Nigeria. After that, we set up the joint industry Audience Measurement Task Force, which we are inaugurating today, to supervise and ensure an accurate, reliable and timely audience measurement system for the Nigerian broadcast and advertising industry.

3. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we have gone to this length to ensure the delivery of a scientific audience measurement system in this country because of its importance. As I have said at many fora, the absence of a scientific audience measurement system has resulted in under-development in the broadcast and advertising industries and stunted their growth.

4. Nigeria’s broadcast advertising market is punching far below its weight, especially when the country’s population is taken into account. Despite having a population more than three times that of South Africa, Nigeria’s television advertising market revenue in 2016 was US$309 million, compared to that of South Africa, which was US$1.3 billion. Nigeria’s broadcast advertising market is also third in Africa, behind that of South Africa and Kenya. The immediate challenge before us, therefore, is to bring the under-performing Nigeria TV and radio advertising market to what it should be – which is two or three times what it is now. If we do that, it could result in additional US$400 million revenue or more in the industry in the next three years.

5. Another critical point is that a world-class audience measurement system is critical to the success of the Digital Switch Over (DSO), which we are currently implementing, As I have always said, the absence of a scientific audience measurement regime has resulted in under-investment in the sector, which is necessary to foster the growth of the industry. Today, the
advertising community continues to rely on subjective factors when making decisions on the content they want, as opposed to how many viewers the content truly attracts. Consequently, television platforms have resorted to renting out space on their channels to sustain their businesses, and content producers are at the mercy of sponsors, a
development which, unfortunately, skews the authenticity of their creative output in favor of a few decision makers, instead of the millions of TV viewers. The existing model will never allow Nigeria’s Creative Industry to reach its full potential. It stunts the quality of the content that can be created and also limits the capacity of television platforms to invest in dynamic contents that consumers will be attracted to.

6. Audience measurement is the missing link in the entire ecosystem and it will make our DSO, which we are going to aggressively implement this year, sustainable for Signal Distributors, Channel owners, TV content producers and Advertisers. Without it, we will not see the growth in our television or the value creation in the Creative Industry that the economy and people of Nigeria so need. We need an objective and scientific audience measurement system that articulates the value of the content to consumers as well as the value of the audience to advertisers, particularly in the television sector.

7. Ladies and gentlemen, we are committed to delivering an empirical audience measure system that will catalyze investment in broadcast and advertising industries, ensure the success of the DSO project as well as fire the imagination and boost the morale of creatives. We are undaunted by the enormity of the challenges we face in this regard, because we have a bunch of committed, patriotic and hardworking men and women to tackle the challenges headlong.

8. The task to deliver the audience measurement we need rests squarely on the shoulders of the men and women whom we are inaugurating today as members of the Audience Measurement Task Force. They will provide industry oversight to the audience measurement issue in Nigeria. The Task Force’s terms of reference are:

– Identify best practice audience measurement system that will support the sustainable growth of the Nigerian Creative and Entertainment Industry;

– Supervise the established framework for supporting the sustainability of the audience measurement system, independent of the Federal Government;

– Recommend a payment and disbursement framework among the key stakeholders in the industry, that is; Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON), Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN) and Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN).

– Urgently grow the Nigerian television advertisement market to two or three times its current size, which is in line with benchmarks.

9. This is our next task and we invite all well meaning practitioners in the industry to join hands with us to achieve it.

10. Before I conclude this speech, please permit me to most sincerely commend the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the two lead agencies working to ensure a successful delivery of the audience measurement system of our dreams. I urge them not to relent until success has been achieved.

11. The Audience Measurement Task Force we are inaugurating today comprises 15 members, with Mr. Tolu Ogunkoya as Chairman and Mr. Joe Mutah as Secretary.

12 May I now ask all the members of the joint industry Audience Measurement Task Force to please stand up…. It is now my pleasure to inaugurate the Audience Measurement Board, charged with delivering a world-class audience measurement system for our country.

13 I thank you all for your kind attention.