Offset technology under one roof

HT Media Greater Noida

496
BS Shesh, vice president of supply chain, Prasada, general manager of supply chain, and Puneet Razdan, general manager of HT Media at the HT Media plant in Greater Noida. Photo IPP
BS Shesh, vice president of supply chain, Prasada, general manager of supply chain, and Puneet Razdan, general manager of HT Media at the HT Media plant in Greater Noida. Photo IPP

Founded in 1924 and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, HT Media is known for its dailies, Hindustan Times (English) and Hindustan (Hindi). The Hindi daily is produced by the company’s subsidiary, Hindustan Media Ventures.

With 19 printing facilities across India and footprint in 15 cities, HT Media dailies are one of the most read dailies in India. During our visit to the Greater Noida plant of HT Media, Prasada, general manager of the supply chain, HT Media, said, “The uniqueness of this plant is that all variety of newsprint technology is available under one roof. Whether it is single and double-width, single or double circumference sheetfet and offset press, you will find everything in this plant. Apart from that, HT plant was the first in the country to install a shaftless machine in 2004.”

The Greater Noida plant prints the two dailies, Hindustan Times and HindustanMint, the English business daily, for its business partner, Wall Street Journal and The Hindu, the English daily. The Noida commercial plant used to print the NCR edition of Hindustan and books. In 2018, the Noida commercial printing plant of HT Media was consolidated with the Greater Noida plant. In the same year, the company launched a tabloid for Hindustan Times, Weekend, distributed on Sunday, for young readers to encourage readership in this segment and for the Hindi daily, a supplement, Hindustan City, was launched.

Ferag mailroom system at the HT Media plant in Greater Noida. Photo IPP
Ferag mailroom system at the HT Media plant in Greater Noida. Photo IPP

The plant has 30 newspaper printing towers out of which 20 towers are for double-width and 10 for single-width printing and 9 folders. The plant also has 6 CTPs – 5 from Krauser and one from TechNova. “To further divide these 30 towers, we have 10 towers of Colorman, 10 towers of TKS and 10 of City Line for offset printing,” explained Prasada. During the consolidation, the commercial printing machines including a 5 color Roland, 2 Komori sheetfed machines, and a Harris heatset press, a Welbound perfect stitching machine, were shifted from Noida to the Greater Noida plant.

On the digital front, the company runs five websites, hindustantimes.com,
livehindustan.com, livemint.com, desimartini.com, and shine.com. The company
also owns multiple radio channels including Radio Nasha 107.2 FM, Fever 104 FM, and acquired 51% stakes Next Mediaworks Limited (NMW), under the brand Radio One in 2018.

Talking about the sustainability initiatives, HT Media adopted a local pond in Noida and cleaned it to provide purified water to the locals. “We also have a solar system of 800 kilowatts to power our machines, save cost and bring down the page per cost,” Prasada explained. The plant also has its own paper testing laboratory for improving the paper quality and strength at a lower cost.

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

Subscribe Now

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here