What are the challenges faced by the photobook industry in India?
Photobook industry in India has huge potential. However, it currently su ers from various issues and challenges. On the market side, consumer awareness of photobooks is still very limited. The exposure to photobooks usually happens at important events like weddings or family functions. But other than that, consumers are not used to ordering photobooks for things like travel or other more casual events, specially on their own. On the printing side, the fragmented nature of the market and lack of professionalism has resulted in price wars, compromise on quality, providing credit etc. On the supplier side, the number of reliable suppliers of equipment and raw material in India is very limited. This is again due to lack of organised professional companies in the photography industry in India.
What are the major trends seen in the industry in the last one year?
We have seen a few important changes in the industry in the last year. One, the future of silver halide medium looks bleak due to the lack of support from traditional players, and we may be faced with single supplier situation, which is very risky for the industry. Second, prints have already got commoditised and silver halide photobooks are now being replaced by lighter weight coffee table books. This trend was started by Canvera 5 years ago, and a lot of printing companies have shifted to providing “Canvera Style” books as they are known in the market. Third, there is a rapid consumer adoption of online and social media services in India. This will require photographers to adapt in order to stay relevant.
India, being one of the largest wedding markets, sees large demands from customers for wedding photobooks. Are there other genres covered?
Weddings are a huge market; one of the largest segment for photobooks. We don’t see this changing in the near future as weddings in India are a big deal. Other genres covered today are events like birthdays, house warming, anniversaries etc. Travel is a segment which I feel is under served as far as photo products are concerned, and there is a huge potential there. We expect other segments to grow as well – but this may take a few years as it involves a change in the consumer mindset as well as maturing of consumer friendly online photo services.
What are the steps you plan to take in 2013 to adapt to the changing market?
As every other year, this year too we will bring out innovative printed products. Other than that, we are introducing Vivyo, the online platform for photographers, that will seamlessly allow photographers to bring their business online. Vivyo allows photographers to create stunning photography websites in minutes, collaborate with their customers online and create an e-commerce online store to maximise their revenues. This platform, combined with Canvera’s products and customer service brings together a seamlessly integrated solution for Indian professional photographers.
Photofair 2013 is prepared to see a number of launches. What is Canvera bringing to its customers? What advancements can the audience expect?
On the printed products side, we are introducing new paper options, as well as two new varieties of co ee table books – the Signature Series and the Gala Series. These will be displayed in our booth at Photofair. Live demos of Vivyo will be conducted everyday, and if feasible we will hold interactive sessions with the audience.