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.
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.