The diary of a digital webinar - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

Himanshu Pandey of Avantika Printers and Prithviraj Desai of MOS shared their experience as new-age digital print firms during a webinar on 10 September 2015. The duo along with Puneet Datta of Canon India shared real-time notes on what is a business model for digital print in India. And how to create digital print applications to stay ahead of the game.This Sunday Column, we look at how to re-arrange the strategies based on what digital offers, and reward yourself with a healthy ROI while you d

18 Sep 2015 | By Noel D'Cunha

On 10 September, digital printing received its due share of attention during a webinar co-organised by PrintWeek India and Canon India. The webinar titled, Digital Printing - Creating unique business opportunities, saw a solid attendance of print persons across the country.

In the four presentations during the webinar, digital emerged as a custom-made technique that customers will pay a price for.

Presenting a case here are the print entries that we received in the past two years for the PrintWeek India Awards. These are about 650 entries received from 250 print companies.

In our number game, we saw commercial printing making strides into digital; a point of no return. This was across segments like books, brochures and catalogues, magazines, and packaging segments. 


To cite an example, in the brochure and catalogue category, the print runs of the entries received ranged from 200 to 35,000. Interestingly, the jobs with a length run of 200 to 500 constituted 36% while only 5% of the jobs had a run length of over 5000.

Similar was the case for packaging. The longest length run in this segment was 50 lakh cartons and the shortest was 10,000. 

But is the short-run trend here to stay? We believe so. The demographics of print demand are changing. To begin with, consumer products are launched on a regular basis, the speed of launch/re-launch has quickened, and the lifespan of products has become shorter. Earlier, a product was produced at one place in bulk and was exported worldwide; today, it’s produced worldwide in smaller quantities.

Likewise, it is for promotional prints. It’s distributed electronically and printed locally. 

Quoting data supporting these trends from PIRA - The Future of Offset vs Digital Printing to 2018, Puneet Datta of Canon India stated, "Digital print is growing at the expense of offset. By 2018, the global value of offset printing will decline while that of digital printing will increase."

Plus, Datta added, that even though the share of digital printing across transaction and direct mail, graphic arts, and packaging segment is currently small, it is increasing at a considerable pace. "In India, the fastest growing applications are retail POD, books POD, digital labels and photo albums and the fastest growing segments for printing will be healthcare, education and packaging."

That's what the clients want. But to be able to deliver requires, as Himanshu Pandey of Avantika Printers puts it, 'Innovation, upgrades and integration’.

Customers communication needs
Here, Himanshu Pandey, who takes pride in digital printing, presented 'How digital ability can open up markets for you'. Pandey said, "Digital technology has brought print to the masses, be it in the corporate realm, publishing, design and advertising agencies or walk-in clients with a diversified requirement. According to Pandey, selling a product is much easier than selling a digital print in a price competitive market. "Adopting digital technology involves workflow automation, which can help achieving profitability and productivity, and minimising wastage. Innovate, upgrade and integrate are the key words to be a successful organisation."

Avantika Printers, with its digital print armoury caters to the corporate segment, for printing business identity documents like business cards, letterheads, envelopes, marketing collateral like brochures, booklets, posters; the publishing segment for the short-run book production, for printing out-of-shelf book, education materials and sometimes even, a book with a personalised title. The other segments that Avantika caters to are the proofing and the photo book segments.

Seconding the need for investing in automation and workflow was Prithviraj Desai of Mail Order Solutions (MOS). While Desai emphasised on the opportunities that direct mail service holds, he pressed the need for quality control and data handling. He said, "You may have a PhD in printing technology, but it’s the customer who decides what quality he wants. The quality standards are to be maintained from the way you handle data, to your print, to the boxes you pack the mails in."

For Desai, customer education on digital printing is paramount. "It is when you educate the customer about the possibilities of the technology that you will be able to offer a quality product." Direct mail, according to Desai, is easy to measure customer response and is a successful channel for customer acquisition. 

Technology adding “wow”
The clients are demanding but are the technology-makers in India ready to cater to this segment? In the recent times, print equipment manufacturers have introduced new technologies in the digital print segment, adding an amazing array of features on the press, which greatly increases the “wow” factor. These include:

  • Canon's Consistently Vivid (CV) toner. Plus a new product announcement with liquid toner is in the pipeline.
  • HD print quality from Xerox. In high-end Xerox has introduced gold and silver colours to its Color 1000 press.
  • HD Simitri by Konica Minolta.
  • Ricoh brought in Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) and a fifth colour unit, which can apply spot or flood clear gloss and white.  
  • HP is introducing ElectroInk set incorporating fade-resistant magenta and yellow.
  • And Epson has its patented PrecisionCore.

Opportunities galore
As some would say, the gauntlet has been thrown down. Digital print has the potential to explode. Digital print manufacturers are helping printers to continue to succeed and excel. The key is: carving out a way to help your clients – through the quality of service or “differentiation”, to find a market niche.


The recording of this presentation plus the transcription of the question and answer session that followed the presentations will be made available on Friday (25 September).

  • In 2011, the cut-sheet digital print market – three billion impression
  • Size – Rs 2,000-crore
  • Digital machine placement – 1,500
  • In 2014 the Indian print market stood at roughly 24-billion
  • Digital machine placement – 3,500
  • In 2015 – digital machine placement – 400+ till September