Printer distributors find comfortable niche in ad industry

Distributors of such large format inkjet printers, used in giant tarpaulin images in billboards and other signages, such as the Mutoh of Japan, Infiniti and Flora of China, ColorSpan of the US and the Digital Graphics Inc. (DGI) of South Korea, said sales was gaining beginning the late 1990’s and saw a boom a year before the 2004 election.

Rowell Lampa of ColorSpan reported an average annual sale of 50 units of their machines, ranging from P2.5 million to more than P4 million, since they introduced their large format printers in 1998. The DGI machines reported higher sales, already selling out more than 300 units of their high resolution and solvent-based inkjet printers.

Elmer John Dadulla, marketing account executive of the Davao-based advertising agency, Genesis 888, said the large format printers could print, ranging from five feet to seven feet or “whatever size you want” and in varied media such as tarpaulin, the more popular advertising medium, panaflex, polycarbonate boards, wood, glass, metal sheet tiles. 

“Sixty percent of all advertising media for company promotions use the billboards, and the rest use streamers, banners and mobile ads,” said Victor Toledo, account executive of the Flora machines. 

“A lot of corporations spend a lot in advertisements,” he said. “It’s really a profitable business, even here in Davao City,” Dadulla said.  

Close to 100 exhibitors, mostly in the plastic packaging, printing and advertising businesses participated in the Manufacturing Technology Exhibits here last month. 

Dadulla said Genesis and seven other advertisers using the large format printers have raked huge profits since 2000 “when we began acquiring these large format printers” and even when prices of printed outdoor advertisements have fallen sharply. 

Tarpaulin advertisements used in billboards done on large format printers have become the popular medium in Davao City as elsewhere, Dadulla said.

He added that the more affordable materials and competition have brought down prices of putting a tarpaulin advertisement, from P200 per square foot of image and ad space in 2000, to only between P25 and P35 per square foot now.

“Sometimes, we can go down to P16 per square foot if the client orders in volume.” He said ads production in tarpaulin would cost the agency only P11 per square foot to cover the material, ink, use of machine and power and labor.

“So even if we charge clients with only P16, we still have P5 profit multiplied with the number of units. These would still run into millions.” 

Dadulla said  a regular telecommunication company, for instance, has 1,200 units of a P420-tarpaulin ads that were displayed in the center island of roads of the city.

“These ads materials are changed almost weekly,” he said. “There’s really a lot of money in advertising even if our prices have been going down,” he said. 

Darwin Solomon, technical sales manager of the Big Fix Graphics, said  a boom in sales was recorded in 2003, just shortly after large format printers were introduced in the market. “Sometimes, we get purchases of between eight to ten machines from advertising agencies in 2003 and shortly before the election in 2004,” Solomon said. (MindaNews)