Racheal Lee
Sep 24, 2013

Media industry positive toward smaller, greener billboards in Manila

MANILA - The media industry is generally positive toward proposed guidelines to regulate the use of billboards in Metro Manila, and the changes are not expected to impact the demand from advertisers.

Massive billboards will be a thing of the past
Massive billboards will be a thing of the past

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and outdoor advertisers signed a “Magna Carta” agreement last week, which sets new guidelines for the construction, installation and display of billboards.

The new rules and regulations cover all existing and proposed advertising signs, billboards, display signs, electrical signs, LED signs / boards, ground signs, roof signs, and sign structures along major thoroughfares, public roads, secondary roads, avenues, streets, roads, parks, and open spaces.

Thirty per cent of the total area of the billboard shall be allotted for a landscape or vertical garden, while two full-grown sustainable trees shall be planted and maintained within the setback areas of billboard structures.

Most significantly, the agreement will mean the end of truly gigantic billboards, as the size of all outdoor signs and structures will be limited to 216 square metres, inclusive of the space required for landscaping or a "vertical garden".
Jos Ortega, chairman and CEO of Havas Media Ortega, noted that the new guidelines will result in lesser inventory in the long run, which in turn will drive rates higher. “However, the quality of the consumer experience with this medium will be exponentially better, and that will be worth the additional cost,” he said. “This is a positive step forward on all fronts. The provision on the vertical gardens is wonderful.”

Ortega noted that the biggest challenge, as always, will be in the implementation of the agreed guidelines and in a consistent manner through time.

According to Norman Davadilla, OOH director at Starcom MediaVest Group Philippines, the industry sees this new regulation as an opportunity to develop other out-of-home formats outside billboards.

“Digital OOH, for one, is a popular format,” he said. “Our clients are starting to see value in creating consumer experience out of this platform. The creativity, flexibility and affordability make DOOH a suitable alternate to static billboards.”

Davadilla said the outdoor business in The Philippines was estimated to be US$196 million last year, of which 70 per cent was spent in Metro Manila. Some 60 per cent of spend was on large format billboards while 40 per cent was on smaller formats (transit ads, airports, trains, street furniture, DOOH).

Lead categories for outdoor advertising are telecommunications and real estate, followed by textiles and fast food.

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