Wednesday 26 March 2014

Buoyancy in print publishing despite strong head winds

Despite headwinds faced by the Indian economy, the print and publishing Industry continues to grow at a healthy pace. Be it the newspaper industry, commercial printing activity or the publishing of books, there appears to be some movement and growth at a time when many other industries are holding back on investment decisions. This month we profile two leading Indian language newspapers who are modernizing and expanding at a frantic pace. The 125 year old Malayala Manorama is investing over Rs 150 crore to buy five Mitsubishi’s ‘made for Asia’ New Diamond Spirit SA 4 x 1 press lines. “This is the third of a four phase expansion plan designed to replace the old single width presses with double width single circumference machines,” says George Jacob of Manorama, “and we plan to complete the modernization at all our dozen printing locations in Kerala within a couple of years.”

We also visited Dainik Bhaskar, the diversified Indian language newspaper that straddles seven states across Central, North and West India with several dailies with a combined circulation of over five million copies. Dainik Bhaskar in Hindi is moving eastward with its Patna launch shortly. Known as DB corp after its highly successful IPO, the diversified conglomerate continues to expand its newspaper business at a rapid pace by setting up a new press location in each quarter for the last five years. The big story here is the trend towards colour pages and that more than four fifth of all new newspaper printing capacities in India are of 4-Hi color towers.

If Indian newspapers are doing well so are the commercial printers investing in digital color production presses. Though this year seems flat for entry level presses, both the mid-level segment and the high end presses continue to do well. Like in the newspaper industry, there is a strong preference for higher color quality, one of the reason for the distinct shift towards high priced digital presses. Investment in building new capacities have more than doubled during the last year with HP, Xerox and Kodak reviving up the top end while Konica Minolta has set the pace both at the entry-level and now in the the mid-range segment as well.

Sandip Sen from the edit-blog page of November 2013 issue Indian Printer and Publisher

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