Amar Ujala: encashing on
indigenous print technologies
India, which offers to the world single width web presses to the tune of 65 to 70 percent, has also been helping its own newspaper publishers to produce all colour pages in a much sophisticated manner. Indian web press manufacturers too are thrilled on the increasing demand with the growth happening in vernacular regional newspapers segment. Talking to such users, AAN tries to bring in a success story of one of the top four Hindi language newspapers. In conversation with Pradeep A Unny, associate vice president – production, Amar Ujala.
The overall operations at Amar Ujala in respect of producing newspapers from its 17 locations, comprising between 1,950 to 2,050 pages everyday with just 4.2 percent as wastage and above all majorly using indigenous newsprint, on web presses supplied by Pressline India Pvt Ltd and The Printers House. “On an average 70 percent of the pages of Amar Ujala are printed in four colour maintaining all required standards following best parts of ISO certifications,” conveys Unny, adding, “Without involving any outside consultant, we have developed our own methodologies.” This has resulted into bringing FMG ads to just ZERO which in the past have been 12-15 percent. “With such a quality print to offer to our readers, the circulation has grown by 40 percent in last three to four years and our team of marketing staff has been able to fetch in 23 percent more advertisement revenues,” said Unny further. Towards this, Unny also does not forget to mention that the all out performance, strong zeal of their team of technical staff to achieve the set targets played a key role in this regard.
The efficiency of all the web presses, Amar Ujala posses, has been on the increase with the positive support from press manufacturers which has given them the benefits to undertake outside print jobs as well by utilising some of their capacities. As of now Amar Ujala prints daily newspapers for Business Standard, Mathrubhoomi, The Pioneer, etc at their Noida and other production facilities.
Amar Ujala today produces daily newspapers from 17 locations viz Agra, Allahabad, Aligarh, Bareilly, Chandigarh, Dehradoon, Dharamshala, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Haldwani, Jammu, Jhansi, Lucknow, Meerut, Moradabad, Noida and Saharanpur. Interestingly they have plans to add two more locations this year.
With the collective publications from all locations, Amar Ujala consumes printing plates worth Rs 95 lakh per month, printing ink worth Rs 2 crore, where as newsprint consumed stands worth Rs 20 crore every month. To produce such a quantum of newspapers every day, Amar Ujala has a very strong pre-press set up, housing a fleet of 25 CtPs (Kodak 17 and Screen 8), which are connected to online processors and stackers. Unny remembers those days, when Amar Ujala newspaper was produced using ‘butter-paper’ technology; offering very limited scope to accept high quality ads. But, not any more, now they have been able to accept all sorts of colour ads of MNCs. Though for selective ads, they need to use high quality newsprint for some of the pages. Unny also gives equal credit to the ‘Thermal’ technology they opted for producing plates in getting high quality print from Indian web-presses, which are generally not that hi-tech as coming from Europe or Japan. “The training imparted to our operative staff under strict guidance helped a lot to take out best out of the machines," conveys Pradeep A Unny who himself is a printing technologiest from Bombay Institute of Printing and has been associated with Amar Ujala group since last four years.
Amar Ujala group produces four other weekly/monthly publications apart from daily newspapers with sufficiently large print-run and plans to introduce at least ten more publications in next two years. They have an ambition of next modernisation plan by making an investment of over Rs 100 crore in next five years. Unny also acknowledges the support of management of Amar Ujala group in an encouraging way which is leading to its all round growth day in and day out. Very recently Amar Ujala group has also acquired an outdoor organisation of Lucknow to make a dent into new business stream. With launching of a new division ‘Touch Point’ to handle ‘events’ is yet their new initiative.