A ‘Photo’genic

The imag­ing in­dus­try is chang­ing rapidly with dig­i­tal cam­eras mak­ing in­roads into both con­sumer and pro­fes­sional seg­ments of the In­dian pho­tog­ra­phy mar­ket

DQ Channels - - Front page - B SWAMI­NATHAN (swami­nathanb@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in)

The pho­tog­ra­phy in­dus­try seems to be on a pos­i­tive run­way, as the de­mand for cam­eras in other in­dus­tries is in­creas­ing. The chan­nel part­ners are also mak­ing prof­its through var­i­ous ways like sell­ing cam­eras, sell­ing im­age-edit­ing soft­ware, servers, stor­age de­vices and print­ers. The imag­ing in­dus­try is chang­ing rapidly with dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy be­ing widely adopted. Dig­i­tal cam­eras are re­plac­ing tra­di­tional roll-based ana­log cam­eras. They are mak­ing in­roads into both the con­sumer and pro­fes­sional seg­ments of the In­dian pho­tog­ra­phy mar­ket.

“Gone are the days when a photo stu­dio was the first port of call to buy a cam­era. Large­for­mat re­tail (LFR) is fast emerg­ing as a big sales chan­nel,” says Sa­j­jan Ku­mar, GM, imag­ing division of Nikon. He adds, “Photo stu­dios and con­sumer elec­tronic stores to­gether ac­count for 80-85% of our sales, but LFR al­ready ac­counts for 10-12% and is grow­ing very fast.”

Grow­ing avail­abil­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity is just one of the rea­sons for the stu­pen­dous growth that the dig­i­tal cam­era mar­ket is see­ing in In­dia. In Oc­to­ber-De­cem­ber 2010 alone, unit sales recorded 69% y-o-y growth, ac­cord­ing to Cy­ber­Me­dia Re­search’s In­dia Quar­terly Dig­i­tal Cam­era Mar­ket Re­view.

Ac­cord­ing to Anir­ban Banerjee, as­so­ciate VP, re­search and ad­vi­sory ser­vices, Cy­ber­Me­dia Re­search, “Mul­ti­ple mar­ket forces have con­verged to drive the rise in sales of dig­i­tal cam­eras in the In­dia mar­ket. The most im­por­tant ones are — in­crease in avail­abil­ity and shar­ing of dig­i­tal con­tent, in­crease in ‘real’ spend­ing power and re­duc­tion in av­er­age sell­ing val­ues.”

Com­pa­nies such as Sony, Sam­sung and Pana­sonic, which are big in the durables space, started us­ing the con­sumer elec­tron­ics stores (CES) as their dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels for cam­eras. Imag­ing ma­jors such as Nikon and Canon, which had been re­ly­ing on the pho­to­graphic chan­nels, fol­lowed suit. In 2009, Nikon had just 5% share of the mar­ket in the point-and­shoot com­pacts. To­day, with ini­tia­tives such as Cool Pix zones within re­tail show­rooms, it has over 20% and is at sec­ond spot in the cat­e­gory be­hind Sony. It is also cred­ited that the wide sales net­work (over 5,000 chan­nel part­ners) as one of the fac­tors for Sony’s top po­si­tion in the com­pact cam­era seg­ment.

It is a crit­i­cal fac­tor and re­veals how it is putting great ef­forts in beef­ing up chan­nel reach. Tier-2 and 3 cities are also com­ing into fo­cus. Ac­cord­ing to Nikhil Khu­rana, lead an­a­lyst, In­dia Dig­i­tal Prod­ucts Re­search, Cy­ber­Me­dia Re­search, the move to B and C towns is expected to help the pen­e­tra­tion of dig­i­tal cam­eras rise from the cur­rent level (be­low 5%) to 10% by 2015.

While on­line is a sig­nif­i­cant sales chan­nel in de­vel­oped mar­kets, in In­dia, Ku­mar says it yields less than 600-700 units for Nikon.

Alok Gupta, CEO, Soft­mart, says, “Any photo-stu­dio needs soft­ware like CorelDRAW, il­lus­tra­tor, Pho­to­shop and have huge add-ons and other plug-ins. There is a huge po­ten­tial in the in­dus­try and part­ners can make good busi­ness out of that. How­ever, the photo stu­dios have to be­come more ma­tured. It is also en­cour­ag­ing that com­pa­nies like Adobe gives spe­cial of­fers to the mem­bers of pho­tog­ra­phy as­so­ci­a­tions.” Gupta also added that many photo-stu­dios are un­able to adopt the lat­est tech­nol­ogy trends like buy­ing new soft­ware. “The ven­dors can bring up with some af­ford­able rates with lim­ited ver­sions at ` 15,000,” Gupta says.

“In the re­cent days you can never find a stu­dio with neg­a­tive and pos­i­tive print­ing. All the sys­tems have mostly ei­ther Ep­son or HP print­ing ma­chine. How­ever, the en­ti­ties here are very small-time un­like in the United States of Amer­ica where the branches were main­tained by a big cor­po­rate com­pany,” said Saket Ka­pur, CEO, Green Vi­sion, Delhi. He also says that many of the stu­dios does not use it more than the 20% of the ap­pli­ca­tions. “In fact, by proper train­ing, they will get to learn all the lat­est tech­nolo­gies and make good busi­ness. A proper train­ing, aware­ness pro­gram from the ven­dors will help them know the ad­van­tages of hav­ing a orig­i­nal prod­uct,” he con­cluded.

Harinder Sal­wan, CEO, Tri­com Mul­ti­me­dia, Mum­bai, says, “The pho­tog­ra­phy in­dus­try is not help­ing the chan­nel part­ners re­ally as piracy plays a ma­jor role in that. Even in the re­cent meet­ing con­ducted by ASIRT, we have made a joint res­o­lu­tion to stop pro­mot­ing piracy.”

“Any photo-stu­dio needs soft­ware like CorelDRAW, il­lus­tra­tor, Pho­to­shop and have huge add-ons and other plug­ins. There is a huge po­ten­tial in the in­dus­try and part­ners can make good busi­ness out of that”

ALOK GUPTA,

CEO, Soft­mart

HARINDER SAL­WAN,

“The pho­tog­ra­phy in­dus­try is not help­ing the chan­nel part­ners re­ally as piracy plays a ma­jor role in that. Even in the re­cent meet­ing con­ducted by ASIRT, we have made a joint res­o­lu­tion to stop pro­mot­ing piracy”

CEO, Tri­com Mul­ti­me­dia

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