”Focus on the growing market in India”

Umang Bedi, the managing director of South Asia, Adobe talks to Rahul Kumar about how the software major proposes to expand its publishing reach in India with a raft of product updates and launches.

03 Jan 2013 | By Rahul Kumar

How are you boosting the pie share for Adobe in the graphic design market?
Adobe is a market leader when it comes to design software and provides a broad spectrum of applications for graphic designers. Adobe maintains its edge by constantly upgrading its software and adding features to meet the demand of creative professionals. Photoshop and Illustrator remain the most popular and widely used software for graphic design. The new edition of Photoshop in CS6 offers designers unparalleled speed, power, and productivity. A fresh, elegant interface features groundbreaking new design tools — including Content-Aware Patch, a new Blur Gallery, a faster and more precise Crop tool, intuitive video creation and more. 

The new edition of Adobe Illustrator in CS6 is powered by the new Adobe Mercury Performance System that enables designers work with speed and stability on large, complex files. A modern, updated user interface streamlines daily tasks. Designers can experiment freely with different types of repeating patterns that can be edited at any time for maximum design flexibility. A new tracing engine and features like gradient strokes gives creative flexibility and ease to designers and help them capture their creative vision.
You have broken the barrier through CS6 and support 10 Indian languages?
In the latest release, Adobe InDesign CS6 software offers out of the box support for ten Indian languages-Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu, Oriya, Malayalam, and Kannada. Publishers will now be able to seamlessly work in these regional languages without the need of additional plug-ins. This will have a significant impact on India’s booming regional print publishing industry that is growing by leaps and bounds. The FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2012 cites that print media continued its strong growth trajectory owing to growth in incomes and consumption in the regional markets. According to the report, Hindi and vernacular segments now contribute nearly 60 percent of Indian print media industry. With an existing strong foothold in the print and publishing industry, InDesign CS6 will now make it easier for publishers to repurpose and manage content in multiple languages and simplify their digital publishing workflow. Given the diversity of our country, all the languages show immense potential.
Please share the strategies to penetrate CS6 to existing as well as new customers?
Adobe CS6 was released earlier this year at the beginning of what is likely to be a period of unprecedented new opportunities for the Indian creative industry.  The product release was significant for the Indian creative community, since the media and entertainment industry here is expected to grow at 15 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach Rs 1,457 billion (US$25.8 billion) by 2016. The emergence of India as a preferred destination for video post-production also means a growing appetite for Adobe’s creative software, especially CS6.
To increase the penetration of its packaged software, Adobe follows a managed channel model in India wherein authorised partners are involved in all commercial transactions. After opening up the partner program from a select 34 partners, Adobe has expanded the partner base to seven platinum partners, 28 gold partners, 75 certified partners and 150 registered partners. Additionally, Adobe has distributor partnership with Redington and Ingram Micro to increase its reach and tap verticals in Indian market through their own reseller network across metro, tier I, tier II, and tier III cities. Another move by Adobe Systems to expand its market penetration is the launch of its online store.
What is the percentage of users who upgrade as compared to new buyers?
Our customers find value in upgrading their software when a new version is released. An upgrade allows the user get the latest version of a software program at a discounted price without having to purchase the new product. The user gets access to features and new tools that were not available in previous versions. The new versions of a software offer faster performance and better user interface. Upgrades also help fix bugs and help users stay current with security patches.
How do you balance customer experience with customer expectations, (highly skilled users with the vast majority of under-skilled users)? 
CS6 has suites to cater to the needs of design, web and video professionals. Users can opt for suites that suit their workflow.
What is the ratio of original and pirated users of Adobe? 
We do not have specific figures for Adobe products. As per the latest BSA study, the piracy rate in the country was 63% in 2011. Despite one point decline in PC software theft in India, the value of pirated software reached Rs 13,783 crores in 2011. Adobe India works closely with Business Software Alliance (BSA) to forge new partnership between industry and government in India to promote legal software use among public agencies and private enterprises. Adobe believes in promoting the software benefits to its customers and motivates the consumption of original software for the benefit of the industry at large.
Which is a higher margin market for you? Electronic publishing or photography?
Indian digital photography market is growing at over 77 per cent a year and is expected to increase from 30,000 units in 2001-2002 to 54,000 units by the end of the current fiscal. Also, the Indian photo printing market is estimated at over Rs 10,000 crore annually (National Book Printers Conference, Dec 2011). The photography industry in India is witnessing robust growth. The professional and amateur photographers are discovering range of applications with the help of latest digital technology.
While the Indian publishing and printing industry is estimated to be of $1.9 billion or about Rs 9,500 crore and $ 25 billion or about Rs 1,25,000 crore, respectively, digital publishing contributes to the smallest pie.
Adobe needs to do more to understand the Indian customers. Do you agree?
A localised approach for diverse economies like India is very important. At Adobe we endeavour to understand the market and deliver customised solutions to penetrate in the market. Adobe go-to-market approach before every launch of the product is to do deep research in the market and the emerging needs and thus creating a customised solution. The latest release of CS 6 is one such testimonial of our understanding of Indian markets.
Is the Adobe strategy going to be tablets, smart phones rather than solutions and products for conventional systems?
Adobe is creating a new value system for the digital professionals by driving a spree for content management across devices. We are strategising and are aiming to capture a large market chunk that caters to both conventional and newer screens.
Please give a brief on Adobe Creative Cloud and its impact in India?
Currently in India, volume licensing is available through our Creative Cloud Team Ready offering that gives users immediate access to Creative Suite 6 Master Collection via electronic download. This includes Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, Adobe Muse, and Adobe Edge preview.
All the new features point towards a huge slant towards the new media content developers? Is print a sunset industry?
The print market in India is really huge and contributes to about $25bn in India. The space offers lots of innovation and growth, especially when targeted to capture the newer technology trends. Our innovation in providing Indian language support is a testament of our focus on the growing print market in India.
Why then, is newspaper designing been ignored by Adobe when you introduced new features ...
On the contrary, we are actively engaged with a large number of newspaper companies on our products and continue to bring value to them by helping them optimise their efforts on print as well as digital. An example of this would be this unique initiative with the Mint whereby our technologies helped launch the papers first iPad app.

Adobe India
Adobe started its India operations in 1998. Adobe India’s R&D strength repre-sents 35% of the company’s global R&D workforce. It has ownership of more than 20 products including Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop Elements, Captivate and a set of PDF readers for hand-held devices. The India R&D centre has filed more than 200 patents. All business units and functions of Adobe are represented in India.