How are this year's Crity Awards shaping up?
This is the second year we're having the awards and we have added five categories: best television commercial producer, best radio jingle maker, best art direction and best outdoor production. There are 23 participating agencies, and 200 nominees in ten categories. We'll have an awards ceremony with up to 500 people and a gala dinner.
So what is it that you're doing differently this time?
This time it is more a celebration of media in Nepal. Ultimately, the survival of media depends on advertising. We are making room for more advertising-oriented entertainment. Jane Subba from Ramp is doing the choreography and their designer is also involved. There is a Crity song.
And have the media shown enough support? The media has been very supportive and we are not taking sponsorships from any product manufacturer. This is totally an awards ceremony for the industry and everyone, Kantipur, Himalmedia, Himalayan Times, NepalTV, Radio Nepal, Samacharpatra, Samaya are involved. And all the television channels are broadcasting the event live.
What do you hope to accomplish with the awards?
Qualitative growth of advertising in Nepal. There has been a growth in quantity, now we want the media industry to also strive for excellence in content. We hope the awards will help creativity among advertising professionals, agencies, technical quality, mode of operations and career development of professionals. Last year people were not prepared for the Crity Awards. This time, we have seen a lot of ad agencies saying "we have to send this to Crity, let's make a good campaign".
Is the country's economic situation a worry?
Despite all the problems we don't have minus growth. This is a Rs 2,000,000,000-a-year industry, but the overall economic situation has an impact. Till two years ago we registered an annual 25 percent growth, but not any more. Manufacturing, trade and investment have taken a knock and this has affected advertising. Even so, we will soon have 56 FM stations in this country, more than seven television channels, and many big publication houses. For example, Prisma is registering an annual Rs 120,000,000 , Thompson is clocking Rs 140,000,000 in transactions.
How does this compare with India?
In terms of quality and quantity, Nepal's ad industry is much smaller. But what we want to prove is that even with smaller volume we can aim for quality and creativity. Look at the multinationals that are dubbing ads here. We would like to encourage Nepali production in Nepal. But things are changing, as you may have noticed with the Nepal Lever Close Up ads or Dabur.
What are the main challenges in the ad industry?
The government and AAAN published a national advertising policy, but it exists only on paper. There are five players here: the advertising agency, the advertiser, the media vehicle, the target audience and the government. All must follow guidelines and rules for the industry to function smoothly. This way all advertising expenses will come on track and international standards will be adhered to vis-?-vis targeted advertising, circulation and ratings data, and content. An advertising council is needed to implement the national advertising policy so that questions of quality, circulation, code of conduct and a continuity of regulation are addressed.
There are clearly some ads in very poor taste.
The code of conduct in the national advertising policy will address that. We do have very poor quality advertising in liquor and other sectors. They are not even in harmony with cultural mores, and community values. There may be pressure from the manufacturer, but for now it is up to the ad agencies to address concerns of taste and acceptability.