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How media tracking fosters compliance, enforcement

STAKEHOLDERS in marketing communications industry have described media tracking as a significant tool in ensuring compliance and enforcement.

At a summit organised in Lagos by Media Monitoring Services Nigeria Limited (MMSL), the nation’s foremost media tracking outfit to mark its 15th anniversary, some helmsmen in advertising, marketing and brand management said information provided by media trackers had helped them to reduce cost, reach more media users and their clients.

The company’s Chief Executive Office, Mr. Uche Aligbe, set the stage for the eye-opening discussion, when he presented the company’s scorecard to the audience. He told the industry players that they were called to celebrate with his outfit on its exploit in the last 15 years and to point the way forward for the sector.

Aligbe traced the history of the firm to 1995 when it stepped into media monitoring, then a relatively unknown field in the country.

Against all odds, Aligbe said “we dared and we conquered,” adding that his company’s services that were not well received at inception were now sought after by those who want to make a mark in the advertising, brand management, media planning and media buying in the country.

Other speakers agreed that media monitoring had become a necessary watchdog in the industry.

They said that independent media monitoring had stabilised the sector and helped big time advertisers and media planners to reduce waste through proper planning based on information provided by the trackers.

MTN Nigeria Media Planning Manager, Mrs. Ify Kagho, praised Aligbe for using his company to redefine the sector and help media planners and others to reduce waste.

She said: “MMSL in 15 years deserved to be celebrated. It has made us to be more conscious of the need to keep waste low. The information supplied by the firm has made media planning more scientific. The information they supplied has given us a level of confidence as we are conscious that somebody somewhere is monitoring and checking to ensure that our investments in the media are justified.”

The highpoint of the anniversary was the launch of Markcomm Digest, a monthly magazine published by Markcomm Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of MMSL. Dr. Ken Onyeali Ikpe, managing director of Mediacom, who presented the magazine to the public, said it was another window into the world of advertising and media planning.

He said that media monitoring is very critical to brand building process and advertising.

Aligbe, who doubles as the publisher of the publication chronicled his firm’s giant stride in the last 15 years: “We commenced operations in Lagos in 1995, monitoring about 10 electronic media stations, a few national publications and the outdoor segment. Today, we have monitoring offices in 14 strategic locations, monitoring over 165 electronic media stations, billboards and all national newspapers in Nigeria with the state of the art technology.

He said with the provision of relevant, accurate and timely information, MMSL clients have gained competitive edge over other operators.

Aligbe said that he had been asked what is spectacular in a company being 15 years, to which he had replied that considering the harsh operating environment in Nigeria, where most businesses die before five years, a decade and half is long period and an achievement.

On its services, Aligbe insisted, “we offer the best you can find in the industry. From manual monitoring of electronic media, transited to automated tracking and real time monitoring with facilities that can match 24 stations at a time.

“When we introduced the watchdog service at inception, it was misunderstood by many. They saw us as the investigative police of the industry. We were resisted and some practitioners openly told us that they were ready to kill it. Now the story has changed. The watchdog service is now received by even its worst critics.”

According to Aligbe, MMSL does not restrict itself to presenting adverts failure to clients, adding that in most cases, media organizations are contacted so that they can address the situation.

He said: “There are instances where audio and visual do not correlate. So we call the media house to let them know that the voice being heard does not agree with the picture, and they have positively responded to such situations.”

On billboard tracking, Aligbe said: “We visit every billboard anywhere in this country regularly. We look at the state of the billboard and what it is carrying and if we consider it in a bad state, a shot is taken to show that it is in a bad state, and if it is good, we report same.

“For the print, we buy every edition of national newspapers and magazines, especially those that carry appreciable advertising. We scan through them and every single ad, we document on daily basis until the time we produce our report.”

Aligbe said the next 15 years, MMSL will concentrate on the nurturing of its newest baby, Markcomm Digest and spread its operations to some African countries. He said before the end of this year, the company would start operations in three West African countries and one in East Africa, while Central and Southern of the continent would come later.



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