Mailroom – A significant revenue generating department for newspapers

Mailroom – A significant revenue generating department for newspapers
L-R: SK Gandotra and Rajeev Gandotra of Technicon with the paper under wrapping machine

The newspaper industry, especially the English language space, has been struggling with stagnant circulation for the last few years amid rising popularity of digital media. Late last year, demonetization dealt another blow to newspaper advertising revenues as businesses slowed down considerably during November and December 2016. Although regional newspapers have been registering decent growth, they were not left unaffected by the government’s sudden decision to withdraw high denomination currency from circulation. Amid this cacophony, there is now a prominent view that the newspaper industry in India will undergo a prolonged period of stagnancy and declining revenues.

Rajiv Gandotra, founder of Technicon India, however, looks positive about the long-term growth of the newspaper industry under the new GST regime and says that players in the industry will find new and innovative ways to boost revenues. Technicon is India’s leading manufacturer of machines such as inserters, overhead newspaper conveyors, counter stackers, under wrappers, plastic bundle wrappers, online sheet under layers, van loading telescopic loaders, flow turns and log stackers. Technicon began its operation with Malayala Manorama as its first customer. With more than a decade of evolution and growth, the company now has all major newspaper names in its long list of customers. Technicon has supplied its machines to The Hindustan Times, The Times of India, DNA, Dainik Bhaskar, and Jagran, to name just a few. Almost 90% of Technicon’s customers are regional dailies.

Mailroom as revenue center
In the present environment, newspapers are under tremendous pressure to generate greater revenue and reduce costs. In India, the mailrooms operations such as supplement insertion are still dominated by physical laborers performing the jobs. Gandotra says that for mailrooms to become a revenue generating department, newspapers will have to keep on automating.

If newspapers have to boost their revenues and carry more advertisements, either they will have to increase pages, which according to Gandotra is not an easy job, or they will have to print more supplements or inserts during the day time.

“If supplements go up, more automation will be needed to control costs. I feel given these circumstances, the mailroom operations are about to blossom,” he says. Newspapers will also have to execute innovative advertising ideas such as inserting pouches, stick-ons, special inserts, etc. For all this to happen, automation in mailroom will be needed, he argues.

Given these factors, Gandotra believes the company’s TechInsert360 mailroom inserter will be a big success in the market. Launched a couple of years ago, TechInsert360 has a maximum speed of 36,000 copies per hour. Some other salient features of the inserter include online and offline operation facility, double copy detection and extraction in jacket feeder, missed copy compensation program, extra copy extraction in all feeders, etc.

More success
Last year Technicon developed a new craft paper under wrapper for Tamil daily Dinamalar and has bagged a contract to supply seven machines. The 3-side under wrapper was developed since Dinamalar wanted an environment-friendly solution to replace plastic wrapping. The company has tasted more success with the craft paper under wrapper as another South Indian daily, Kerala’s Malayala Manorama, has placed an order for 40 machines.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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