Indian newspapers continue to innovate

Adding value with UV curing and lots of glue


A recent visit to the Bennett Coleman plant in Kandivili further brought to light the fact that although Indian dailies still seem to be growing, the big national dailies in English are having to scratch their heads every day to come up with something new. To justify their investments in double-width double-circumference (4 x 2) and double-width single circumference (4 x1) presses and the volatility of the global newsprint market, all kinds of ideas have been discussed including adaptation of the installed heavy metal to produce more pages of smaller newspapers.

There is no denying that Indian dailies can only compete with television and the internet and survive by printing more color pages. Dailies like The Times of India have fine tuned their color printing using stochastic screening and are also attempting to use every trick in the book to optimize newsprint and inks. Like many other dailies Bennett Coleman TOI have also mounted UV curing on the top of their manroland full color towers to print glossy and eye-catching color ads on glazed newsprint and other improved papers for their jackets.

Apart from pushing the print barriers, The Times of India like many other companies across India with double-width presses is coming up with innovative jackets and folds called half covers, ‘French windows’ and many other types of folder tricks combined with gluing flaps or the paper in the spine. On our visit Bennett Coleman’s Sanat Hazra and his team claimed that they have been able to establish something like 93 innovative ideas including unique use of what were formerly accepted as nonprinting areas of a newspaper, across the 30 or so plants that the group uses.

The Times of India is not the only Indian daily experimenting with creative folding and gluing variations and UV curing – this has been an ongoing process across the country for the past four or five years using a variety of water-cooled and air-cooled UV systems and gluing solutions from manufacturers such as Valco Melton and even some homemade gluing solutions. However all this activity only serves to highlight that the newspaper business is becoming very competitive in the fight for advertising revenue. 

Growth in South India  

Although global newsprint prices are currently benign, the large English dailies are hardly seeing any circulation increase and this is reflected in their lack of investment in the big 4 x 2 and 4 x 1 presses over the last two years. The big additions of 4 x 1 dailies are mainly in the South Indian language dailies as Malayala Manorama completes its installation of five Mitsubishi DiamondSprit Asia 4 x1 presses and Mathrubhumi awaits its fourth TKS 4 x1 press. 

The only new big press on that is to be installed in the next several months is the manroland Cromoman 4 tower 4 x1 press at Namaste Telengana in a new plant in Hyderabad which should happen in the next quarter or so since the machine has already been shipped. One should mention that India’s leading press manufacturer Manugraph is also completing some good orders for its 2 x 1 presses including a large multi-location order for a South Indian language newspaper.

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.

– Naresh Khanna

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