Citing big long-term opportunities in the digital photo arena, Canon India is all set to increase its focus towards achieving greater heights in this segment. Zia Askari of CyberMedia News Service spoke with Alok Bharadwaj, Director & GM (Consumer Imaging and Information Division & Volume Products), Canon India, about the company’s new found focus and its future plans to consolidate its position in this segment.
What is the focus for Canon as of now and what is the roadmap for the company in the next two quarters?
At present we are focusing heavily on enhancing our presence in digital photo space. Here we have two segments–consumer and the commercial segment. We have already launched our entry-level digital cameras and have six state distributors for these products in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi and Ahmeda-bad. However, this figure is likely to increase as we move forward. Within six months we will be having 25 statewide distributors spread across all over India including Mumbai and Bangalore metros. So for the next two quarters we would be engaged heavily in establish-ing our presence in this space and putting all the pieces in place to get a bigger picture. Having put in the basic building blocks for a strong foundation, the focus this year will not only be on maintaining market share captured during the last year but also on increasing revenues from the consum-ables segment.
What specific plans do you have for the digital photo segment?
We want to engage our cus-tomers at various levels and we want to achieve that with the help of different outreach prog-rams, demonstrations of our products and roadshows at different locations in the coun-try. In addition to this, we would also be coming out with a mass media campaign for establishing our products in the market.
How big is this market and what is your share in this segment?
If we talk about the com-mercial space then there are more than one lakh photo studios all over India and only a small bit of it–about 3,000–have gone digital. So the
opportunity is quite huge and the segment is just opening up. To increase our market share, we are going to work very closely with the photo studio professionals. Recently we conducted a studio meet in Ahmedabad, a lot of photo studio professionals converged over there and we sold seven solutions in that event which is quite encouraging.
How are these solutions priced?
Typically a low end photo printer, a digital camera and a film scanner is prized at
Rs 29,995 and this solution can go up to Rs 1 lakh on the higher side. As of now, price is not the deciding factor for this as the segment is just opening up, however, we are introducing our products at an affordable price range.
What are your plans regarding the Digi Photo Zones?
As of now, we have Digi Photo Zones in 25 cities and we have big plans for this. By the end of next year we would be having 150 zones and by the end of 2005 we are aiming to have 500 small and big cities to have digi photo zones. In terms of rupees, the market oppor-tunity is more than Rs 3,000 crore but now all this is analog market, soon it will be con-verted into digital as market dynamics are changing.
Do you have any serious competition bracing up for the same segment?
We have a lot of small time competition from small regio-nal players. For eg, there could be a small player in Andhra Pra-desh who is giving us compe-tition in scanning or digital printing but on the whole there is no one. This competition is into bits and pieces as no one provides end to end solutions as we do. But HP is seriously looking forward to having a similar solution as ours.
When are you likely to break even as a company?
We are still in the investment mode as the Indian market con-ditions demand a patient app-roach. We will continue to invest where it is needed and will hopefully break even sometime next year only.