The capex in the newspaper industry is not expected to be good this year as newspaper publishers grapple with declining readership and shrinking margins, feels Pradeep Shah, managing director, Manugraph.
“It is not going to be a good year for the manufacturing segment linked to the newspaper industry,” he says.
Although demonetization and GST did not have any major impact on Manugraph’s operations, the company’s union has been on a strike for more than a month and Shah says that most of Manugraph’s customers have been considerate of the company’s position.
“The union’s demand is unreasonable. We will wait for a while but we are hopeful to solve it. It’s not like we want the strike to continue but we have to look at the numbers, the viability. So, we feel whatever we have offered the union based on our current financial position is sensible,” Shah says.
Talking about the orders, he says the company has orders for the next six months.
Customization is the key
India’s under-30 age group is consuming news mostly on the digital platform. One of the most striking features of digital format is the endless possibility of customization it offers to news readers. If someone wants to read only politics or sport or business or Bollywood, he or she has the freedom to access only that section and not go for the entire newspaper. According to Shah, this is what the traditional newspapers should also strive to do.
“Every newspaper should have five or six sections with readers looking to buy sections. Newspaper will have to be created in such a way that you can customize according to the demand of the reader. This trend is already popular on digital platform and could also happen with physical newspapers,” Shah argues.
He also says that at some stage almost all newspapers will shrink in size as it is easier to read. “Logically this what it should be, six columns.”
Foray into packaging solutions
Manugraph will launch the complete business vision about its CI flexo press manufacturing at Plastvision 2018 to be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The company has tied up with Italy’s C&C Flexo (Carraro) to commence the manufacturing of CI Flexo machine at its Kolhapur facility.
“There is no detailed marketing plan drawn out yet but people have been hired. Our Kolhapur division needs to now gear up. We have a huge market that we want to attack, both in India and overseas. There is a potential in all the markets that Manugraph is currently present in,” Shah says.