Gujarat Samachar to increase its capacity in FY 18-19

Ranjeet Singh, branch manager of Gujarat Samachar’s office at INS, Delhi.
Ranjeet Singh, branch manager of Gujarat Samachar’s office at INS, Delhi.

Founded in 1932 and headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat Samachar is a leading Gujarati daily that is supplied to the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. With a branch in Surat as well, the newspaper is distributed from Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Mehsana, Bhuj and Mumbai city.

“There hasn’t been any new development in Gujarat Samachar in the past few years. However, we’re looking to add more machines at our printing unit this year. The final decision on the machines has not yet been taken,” says Ranjeet Singh, branch manager, Gujarat Samachar.

The circulation figures of the daily stand somewhere close to 14,00,000. Though circulation figures for most of the leading dailies are going up every year, they are adversely hit by a sharp fall in revenues. According to Singh, Gujarat Samachar is a leading Gujarati daily with the highest circulation figure and readership. Other Gujarati dailies include names such as Sandesh, Divya Bhaskar and Jai Hind.

“We’ve been able to maintain the top position as our newspaper is the most renowned. I have seen some Gujaratis in Delhi buying Gujarat Samachar even though it is available at exorbitant rates in the city. Observing the circulation figures, we’ve decided to add machines at our production facility,” Singh adds.

The company has four printing presses at two locations in Ahmedabad. The Mumbai unit also has four printing presses at two different locations and has a press each at all its other locations. All the machines used by the daily are imported from other countries.

Gujarat Samachar claims to receive good support from the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) though the number of advertisements from private companies far exceed the number given by DAVP with a considerable difference in the rates.

Talking about the impact that the current government’s Make in India movement has had on Gujarat Samachar, Singh says, “The imports from China still haven’t reduced. The Chinese continue to dominate the Indian market. The Make in India initiative was primarily taken to cut the imports but there hasn’t been any significant change post implementation of the initiative. Though it is an excellent initiative taken by the government, I think it largely failed due to lack of proper implementation.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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