Mumbai remains the focus market for DNA

DNA strives to consolidate in Mumbai

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Manugraph Hiline towers at the DNA plant in Navi Mumbai

Launched in 2005 by Diligent Media Corporation, Daily News & Analysis or DNA, has been able to create a space for itself in its primary market, Mumbai. It was the first English broadsheet daily in India to introduce an all-colour format. In addition to Mumbai, it is now published in Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Indore.

At inception, being the experienced partner, the DB group had an upper hand in editorial and circulation management, which in 2009 was taken over by its joint venture partner the Essel Group. In 2012, Essel Group acquired the Dainik Bhaskar Group’s 50% stake in Diligent Media Corp, a 50:50 JV between Essel Group (which also owns Zee Television) and DB Corp.

AV Ramachandran, vice president – press
and commercial, DNA Mumbai

The newspaper’s main printing facility is in Navi Mumbai, which takes care of Mumbai and Pune, while it also has another facility in Bangalore. The Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Indore editions are franchised to the Dainik Bhaskar group.

At the Navi Mumbai plant, from the start DNA went for a modular system. The facility has five presses, all from Manugraph. The capacity of the plant is 700,000 copies per day. All five presses are 2 x 1 Manugraph Hilines with unitech folders.

“It is a very good setup where the risk is covered very well. I am very happy with the machines,” says an optimistic AV Ramachandran, vice president, press and commercial at DNA, adding that maintenance is not an issue with Manugraph and parts are easily available.

The plant has a dedicated in-house team to look after the maintenance. Highlighting the expertise of the maintenance team, Ramachandran cites an instance where the in-house team opened up the folder and then put it back to gether. “For an operation like this, we would normally need help from Manugraph, but our team was able to execute it in-house. During my two years at DNA, we have hardly taken outside help,” says Ramachandran.

At the Navi Mumbai plant, along with DNA, other regional newspapers

are also printed for the Mumbai market, which Ramachandran says, is a method of revenue generation from other sources and use of spare capacity. Regional newspapers that are

printed here are Tarun Bharat, Dabang Duniya, Divya Bhaskar, Mumbai Tarun Bharat, Pudhari and Pratahkal.

Having had a great experience with Manugraph over the years, Ramachandran says, “We would like to be a dedicated Manugraph customer. Opt for a local manufacturer rather than go for an imported press and save foreign exchange.”

Our conversation shifted to the topic of the rising costs of raw material which has been an issue across the industry. According to Ramachandran, reducing newsprint grammage is the first step that is taken to counter cost escalation. “We run more of 42 gsm and less of 45 gsm,” he says.

He adds that at DNA a lot of caution has to be exercised to maintain the advertising-to-edit ratio. “What happens is that when costs are limited, one is tempted to add a page or two on the editorial side. At DNA we have been very careful about adding pages

You could see DNA with even 16 pages, which is very rare for a market like Mumbai where anything less than 20 pages is considered bad,” says Ramachandran.

He adds that another measure taken to counter the rise in cost has been to gradually raise circulation cost. Talking about advertising revenue pressures in a hyper competitive market like Mumbai, Ramachandran says that it has been a challenge as DNA is competing with a newspaper which is 175 years old. “We cannot be Times of India overnight but we are striving to get there,” he says optimistically.

According to him, Mumbai has space for a variety of newspapers and there is a space and market for DNA. “Our aim is to get into the right pockets of Mumbai. We want to consolidate in our main market,” he says.

The burgeoning role of the internet and new media in the world of news is also on DNA’s radar and the newspaper has already done a lot of work on that front. The newspaper has a separate vertical to look after the

digital medium. “The aim of the team is to make the digital side as big as the print in the next five years,” suggests Ramachandran.

According to him, a new revolution can happen overnight in the digital world and one has to be prepared for any eventuality. “Facebook and Twitter are two examples of changes that happened overnight and altered the way internet or digital space functioned. We have to be ready for such changes or we will be left behind,” emphasizes Ramachandran.

Finally, talking about the ownership change that took place last year, Ramachandran is of the view that things have been for the better. “Better not because the earlier situation was bad, but because there is now more focus and responsibility under one leadership. The Essel group has a lot of interest in news and the integration should work very well,” he concludes.

 

 

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

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