CEIF 2018: In Conversation with Marco Pezzana, Vitec Group


Marco Pezzana, Photographic Divisional Chief Executive, Vitec Group

1. Experiencing products, especially of the nature of Manfrotto or Gitzo, goes a long way in the making of a decision to buy. What are the product ranges that will be visible at the new Experience Zone?

A wide range of photo and video accessories can be experimented at the Manfrotto Experience Zone; these include photo supports and heads, video supports, video heads, sliders, on board LED lights, lighting supports, lighting controls, lighting backgrounds, VR supports, photo/video bags, filters, accessories for mobile journalism and smartphones.

Beyond experiencing Manfrotto products, the Experience Zones offer the opportunity to touch and feel accessories made under a number of brands owned by the Vitec Group Pls, including Gitzo, Lastolite, National Geographic; Colorama, Lowepro and Joby will also be featured as we move into next year.

2. Is this the first of several Experience Zones for Vitec in India? 

Currently, we have two Experience Zones open in India: one in New Delhi and one in Chennai. Mumbai will open early in 2018; Bangalore and Calcutta will follow during the course of next year.

Not to be forgotten, www.manfrotto.in a content rich web platform that provides a deep source of both product, technical and educational opportunities tailored to the needs of the local market.

3. ‎What are your experiences and insights on India? What are some of Vitec’s plans for India? What do you perceive are your biggest challenges here?

We are living in a time when visual contents have become the most immediate, global language capable of connecting businesses and people of all nationalities and generations instantly across the world.  In this context India, a country reach with diversity, deeply rooted cultures, sublime architecture, amazing landscapes, sharp contrasts is certainly positioned as one of the most inspiring photographic and cinematic heavens.

In addition a rapidly developing middle class, coupled with a fast growing population of well-educated millennials, early adopters of new technologies clearly set the foundation for a prosperous market in years to come where digital technology, image capturing and sharing are only bound to grow.

The biggest challenges that I see in India are the relatively low awareness of photographic and cinematic culture coupled with the challenges still posed by available infrastructure.

As the global leader in photo/video accessories we try to address the above challenges by:

  • Working in partnership with the best photo/video schools in the country like Shari Academy, The One School Goa, BVSP, Symbiosis School of Photography, local clubs and an extensive network of local ambassadors so that to contribute to the best of our ability in growing the image creation culture and awareness for the equipment that can enhance the ability to create stunning visual contents
  • In order to overcome the infrastructure challenges we have partnered with the best distributors in the industry and support them via our Marketing office located in Mumbai. This is helping to ensure that products commercialized in India are regularly imported, covered by extensive warranty, serviced by a qualified network of engineers (trained by Vitec in Italy) with stocks immediately available for reliable and fast availability through the best resellers across the country.


4. With the Government of India opening up to investments, and easing supply chain… will Vitec be looking at manufacturing in India at some point?

I have personally been travelling to India both for business and tourism since fifteen years.

I have thereby been able to experience first-hand the significant progress that the country has been making in creating a more suitable environment for foreign corporate investments.

At this stage we do not have active plans for manufacturing in India but we continue to monitor all investment opportunities that open each year around the world; clearly India is progressing fast in the global area thus I cannot exclude that Vitec Photographic may commit to some form of local infrastructural event at some in the future.

5. At our last visit to Photokina, we noticed some very interesting product lines, some of which were off the beaten path. For example, a new stylish clothing line, some of which is available on Amazon in India. ‎What are your views on some of these off-beat lines of products? Also, considering Italian designs are rather well-received in India, are there plans for that in India too?

All Manfrotto products are designed and engineered in Italy where most of them are also manufactured.

Beyond great styling, we are committed to be at the forefront of quality and innovation, always leveraging the best materials and technical solutions to support image creators going beyond their limits.

6. ‎We were quite surprised to hear the news of Vitec’s acquisition of Lowepro and JOBY. Could you tell us some more of what lead to the decision for both brands? How does it help Vitec especially with Regard to India, considering both brands are reasonably popular here as well?

Lowepro and Joby are leading brands in their respective fields of expertise: outdoor carrying solutions for Lowepro and inventing, casual reporting for Joby.

The two brands are therefore perfect complements to Manfrotto and the other Vitec brands.

For example, Manfrotto bags are fully dedicated to Studio and Urban photography/videography, thus Lowepro being devoted to the outdoors and adventure photography is an ideal complement.

Equally, Joby by focusing on mobile journalism, smartphone photography and entry level CSC, perfectly complements the Manfrotto rage that focuses on premium cameras.

Also, very importantly, the acquisition provides the ability to share best innovation and engineering competencies between our R&D teams based in Italy, California and China, thus accelerating the innovation path for the future.

I think over time this new set of expertise, will allow Vitec to bring an even stronger value proposition, thus benefiting emerging economies like India by offering a wider range of products across multiple price points.

7. ‎Vitec has enjoyed a robust growth over the last few years, both with the broadcast and the photographic areas of the business. In a scenario where camera companies are losing revenue, and with the proliferation of cellphones, and the overall shift to digital, could you throw some light on how Vitec has not only maintained, but done rather well?

Three drivers explain the success of Vitec, clearly represented by the appreciation of our shares that have moved from about £ 1.00 in 2009 to about £ 10.00 today:

  • We believe that visual content creation is and will continue to expand in years to come: this is a great opportunity in itself! The challenge for manufacturers is to look at technological enhancements as an opportunity, not a threat. This is why we have developed accessories for hybrid DSLRs (photo/video), we have developed even lighter and more compact accessories for CSCs, we have embraced i-phonography, VR, drones and instant sharing. We have continued to invest in innovation more than our competitors (Nitrotech a recent break through example) thus adding real greater value to both our end users and business partners alike.
  • We have embraced the challenge of a more competitive global market by working hard on operational excellence, thus delivering even better products at competitive prices; Manfrotto Befree Advanced is a great example. Most Manfrotto products are designed, engineered and manufactured in Italy, thus providing a guarantee for superior performance, quality and reliability. Our factories are “best in class” for safety, productivity and low environmental impact: this is why we win even against low cost manufacturers
  • We have invested in developing a state of the art supply chain infrastructure. Today we are capable of delivering cost effectively and with outmost punctuality to all distribution channels, including specialized retail, consumer electronics and specialized e-commerce platforms around the world.

8. Finally, what personal message would you like to give to our readers and photographers in India?

Photography and videography are a phenomenal medium to express ourselves.

Today , like never before, the ability to capture and share amazing content and emotions in enabled by user friendly technology and at Vitec we are here to support just that!

Imagine more and share with the world your passion, your creativity and the amazing beauty of your country: Manfrotto and Vitec are here to help you achieving the utmost expression of your unique imagination.

Tags: india, manfrotto, Vitec