Sat - 20.01.2018

Making print count in India

Making print count in India

by Dean Roper

When 85 percent of their revenues come from print, says Kasturi Balaji, Managing Director of Kasturi & Sons in India, newspapers had better not scrimp on offering the best newspaper products to their readers. Mr. Balaji spoke at the WAN-IFRA Printing Summit 2011 Conference in Mainz, Germany.

Based in Chennai, Kasturi & Sons are the publishers of The Hindu, an English-language daily newspaper with a circulation of 1.5 million copies, and Business Line with 180,000 circulation, among other titles.

The company prints at 15 print sites, 12 of them owned by Kasturi & Sons, and three use heatset technology to print newspaper titles. That is what sets the company apart.

Since 1998, Kasturi & Sons have printed most of their newspaper products on double-width presses, many equipped with hot-air dryers. The company offers a number of niche, high-quality semi-commercial products, all bringing in significant new revenue streams.

For that new revenue, there are press-related and mailroom issues to consider, Mr. Balaji says. For the press, quality, formats and enhancements play major roles. But warning about quality, he says, "It is important to be realistic about quality expectations. Adding a dryer to a newspaper press does not make it a commercial press. While it may be somewhat easier to retrofit devices like stitchers and gluers, the same cannot be said for hot-air dryers, for example."

Mr. Balaji says the implications of heatset printing naturally affect costs. That meant a capital cost increase of about 10-12 percent for the company. Running costs compared to coldset (LPG, power, ink): 175 percent of coldset. "But any time you talk about costs in this context, they should be taken into consideration with your entire operation."

Press configuration and building space also must be factored in, as well as the paper issue again. "The surface strength of newsprint must be good enough to withstand the higher tack of heatset inks."

The question of inks is a delicate issue, he says, as heatset inks have solvents that tend to dry out during prolonged press stops. Kasturi & Sons chooses to use one ink for both coldset and heatset printing by keeping the inks in a "flowy" state by constantly agitating them in the tanks.

He says that waste in heatset doesn't necessarily need to be that different from coldset, with the only extra waste coming from white copies as they come off the folder as the dryer warms up.


Anton Jolkovski


2011-04-07 17:02

Shaping the Future of the News Publishing

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