Kodak-- No further longterm investment in film

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by Gordon Moat, Sep 25, 2003.

  1. Gordon Moat

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Sorry, I don't follow your logic, and I got the highest grade in my Logic
    class in college. My guess is that since you cross posted this to/from the
    digital group, then this is an elaborate troll. However, in the interests
    of some accuracy, I have decided to type a short commentary.

    Kodak recently opened a new factory dedicated to B/W film production.
    Kodak also recently introduced several improved "professional" E6 films,
    and Fuji has provided similar new E6 films. To put that into some context,
    neither the B/W, nor the E6 films, sell in nearly the numbers that
    "consumer" colour negative films receive. Indeed, why improve current
    consumer films, when the sales and profits are really good. Film is very

    It is important to understand that Kodak, as a public company, is
    responsible to their shareholders. With that in mind, the average
    shareholder will want to see Kodak make more statements about greater
    investing in digital technology, since shareholders will interpret this as
    moving towards the future. Kodak will look much more like computer
    companies a few years ago, though their views and statements will need to
    change to accommodate shareholder perception.

    You can easily read the SEC reports for Kodak. In those, you will find
    that they make more money from non-consumer, non-film endeavours, though
    those are rarely discussed. You will also find that digital endeavours
    have a very low profit margin, and that things like disposable cameras,
    and consumer films have very high profit margins.

    Bottom line is that film will survive as long as it generates a profit.
    Technology is not driven by innovation, it is driven by profits.


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Sep 25, 2003
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  2. Gordon Moat

    Bill Janes Guest

    In a first page article in today's Wall Street Journal, it is reported
    that Kodak has made a significant strategic decision to make no further
    long term investment in consumer film. They plan to concentrate on
    digital photography and non-photo areas.

    This means that while digital photography is rapidly advancing, film
    improvements, at least from Kodak, will be limited. With its major
    competitor out of action, that could mean that Fuji has less incentive
    to pour more research into film also.

    If that is the case, many photographers, myself included, are unlikely
    to make any further significant long term investment in film

    Bill Janes
    Bill Janes, Sep 25, 2003
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  3. _consumer_ film, it says.
    So what? I'd be fine for many years to come with my 40 year old Contarex
    and a steady supply of the Royal Supra plus some b/w and infared film.
    All that without any further development.

    I still don't see the analogue sky falling.

    Ralf R. Radermacher, Sep 25, 2003
  4. Gordon Moat

    Duncan Ross Guest

    This means that while digital photography is rapidly advancing, film
    No big deal. Digital needs to advance in order to generate its own market since
    it doesn't have a consumable market to milk. Film is a consumable like inkjet
    cartridges, paper and razor blades so longterm continued use does not require
    frenzied hardware churning.

    Frankly if Kodak insisted they were going to concentrate their efforts on
    disposable cameras would you do likewise?
    Duncan Ross, Sep 25, 2003
  5. Gordon Moat

    Bowser Guest

    I'd be concerned if Kodak said they would stop investment for all films,
    since pros use most of the film anyway. Their consumer films stink anyway.
    Bowser, Sep 25, 2003
  6. Gordon Moat

    Bill Janes Guest


    No I wouldn't. I switched to Fuji films several years ago and never
    bought a Koadak disk film camera or anything from their Advantix line.
    However, I will buy a couple of disposable cameras for my son's upcoming
    school trip to Washington DC. Use the tool that best meets your needs.

    Bill Janes, Sep 25, 2003
  7. Gordon Moat

    Duncan Ross Guest

    From: Bill Janes
    Wise man! ;^D
    Duncan Ross, Sep 25, 2003
  8. Gordon Moat

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Perhaps they are starting to look too much like a computer company.
    Maybe this indicates that shareholders feel that further development of
    "consumer" films would be a better direction. More likely, this latest
    statement shows a lack of direction, and too much jumping on the latest buzz
    word band wagon . . . seems too much like when everyone wanted to put "dot com"
    onto their name to increase share prices.
    Anyway, I doubt either of us would judge any company by one day stock
    performance. Did you sell any shares today?


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Sep 25, 2003
  9. Gordon Moat

    Bob Hatch Guest

    The pro per-centage of sales for Kodak is extremely small. Has been for
    years, something like less than 10% of total film sales.
    Bob Hatch, Sep 25, 2003
  10. Gordon Moat

    Alan Browne Guest

    I suggest that first thing anyone does is read the press release at:

    which, in any case is not great news for film users. The Kodak
    strategy-du-jour for the next couple years is cost cutting and getting
    cash out of the film products (consumer and professional).

    "The path to Kodak's revenue goals features short-, medium- and
    long-term objectives. In the short term - the next 2 years - the company
    will reinforce its foundation by cutting costs and by managing the
    consumer film and paper businesses for cash and manufacturing share. In
    the medium term - 2 to 5 years - Kodak will use the cash generated by
    the traditional businesses to strengthen the three market segments:
    Commercial, Consumer and Health." --Kdk PR, 2003.09.25

    Their long term investment is definitely digital. The word film hardly
    appears in the press release. The word digital is all over it. Those
    three segments, Commercial, Consumer and Health each have digital
    oriented business plans.

    As they cut their costs on film products, they are not passing these
    savings to the consumer of film, but to their own business. This is a
    viable strategy for them (and a classic milker), but it doesn't mean I
    have to subscribe to it. There *are* other film companies.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Alan Browne, Sep 25, 2003
  11. To Kodak all of us photographers are "consumers", professional and amateur
    The non-consumer segment consists of photophinising, scientific and
    technical imaging, and that sort of thing.
    Indeed not.
    Q.G. de Bakker, Sep 25, 2003
  12. Gordon Moat

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Professional films are about 7 percent of Kodak's market. The rest is
    amateur films. I tend to wonder what "advances" they plan in professional
    films since that segment of teh market is going digital at as fast or faster
    a rate than the amateurs.

    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
    The Improved Links Pages are at
    New email - Contact on the Menyou page.
    Tony Spadaro, Sep 25, 2003
  13. Gordon Moat

    Bill Janes Guest


    I did look at the press release at the link you suggested. Whether or
    not Kodak will be able to carry off their plans is doubtful. They may
    have given up on film too early. In the conusmer digital market they
    will be competing with Sony, Canon, Nikon, Olympus and others. Their
    DC14n digital SLR has not been well received because of its high noise
    at even modest ISO speeds. It costs $5,000 US but is based on a $200
    amateur camera. They have nothing to compare with the Canon EOS 1Ds. In
    the medical field they will be competing with GE, Philips, Siemens, etc.
    Their digital back for medium format is very good, but how many do they
    sell? I would like to see an old line American icon succeed, but would
    not buy their stock at the moment.

    Bill Janes, Sep 25, 2003
  14. Gordon Moat

    Alan Browne Guest


    I really don't care what Kodak does or doesn't do. Right now,
    regardless of where digital is going, film-photography related products
    account for about 85% or more of their $12B revenues. In film they
    tradionally had very strong margins ('though not in the last few years).
    Their name in film earned those margins along with continued high
    quality. They hope now to milk those traditional areas to finance the
    conversion to a mostly digital company that is twice the size of the
    current company. I suspect that as they go into driving out cost on the
    film side, they will reduce the quality of their product. Do I want to
    buy into a reducing quality product at traditionally high priced to
    finance something that may be better done by others?

    They have started in fits and bursts to do digital and have done nothing
    remarkable. As you state below the competition in digital is varied,
    large and populated by companies with much deeper and longer digital
    experience; not to mention cash on hand.

    Some months ago, in this august forum, I wrote my opinion of how Kodak
    should split the company into two entities, one to persue traditional
    film markets, the other digital markets. I won't repeat it all here.

    Kodak have brought in top guns for their new business areas, but I
    believe this will just create a bunch of very competent and ordinary
    product lines. Kodak, for the last decade have "lost it", and I on't
    believe they will ever find "it" again.

    I still use Kodak products (and Fuji). E100S and Portra remain favoured
    films. I tried some Kodak "Premium Picture Paper/Satin" printer paper
    the other day. Horrid, Horrid, Horrid. The cheaper Epson paper I use
    for proofing is much better. They are really off to a bad start.

    Investment? it might not be a bad deal...if they can turn it around.
    After their PR today, the stock tumbled 15% more... That, I believe, is
    institutional investor annalysts looking at what Kodak are saying and
    thinking to themsleves: "This sounds like one Konfused Kompany".

    me? well I let my MF managers worry this stuff.

    Alan Browne, Sep 25, 2003
  15. Gordon Moat

    Lewis Lang Guest

    Subject: Re: Kodak-- No further longterm investment in film
    Hi Gordon:

    Gordon makes a good point which I must, reluctantly, agree with. Joe and Jane
    Shmoe really at this point don't need better films for the 4x6" prints and
    occaisional "once in a blue moon" 8x10/12" prints they make, which seems more
    likely they'll just as well print this size on their inkjet printers than go
    to a lab for the print.

    While digital is the buzz word du jour, Kodak would need a revolutionary
    product/patent or a series of such to make a real dent.

    From a profit perspective only, I wonder if their "digital future" is the
    wisest of choices if it has so little inherent profit in it.

    Shouldn't Kodak be exploring newer technologies of imaging/other things where
    there isn't cut throat competition for a (ever) small(er) slice of the market?


    Check out my photos at "LEWISVISION":


    Remove "nospam" to reply
    Lewis Lang, Sep 25, 2003
  16. Gordon Moat

    Jean Guest

    | Shouldn't Kodak be exploring newer technologies of imaging/other things
    | there isn't cut throat competition for a (ever) small(er) slice of the
    | Lewis

    Kodak's ability to push any new technology that they might come up might be
    handicapped by a lack of credibility with the "typical" consumer -ie, the
    trusting soul who bought a 110 camera, or a Disk camera, or an APS camera
    and has finally realized that they were duped into buying "the latest and
    greatest photographic advance for the average consumer" when, in fact, the
    "advance" was merely a cost saving means for Kodak and will be not be
    supported well into the future.

    I also think that those who say "film is dead" are overlooking the global
    picture. Most people on the earth do not have the means to buy digital
    equipment nor the computer savvy and/or hardware to fully practice digital
    photography from the picture-taking stage all the way through editing and
    printing. (Hmm, do most people in the world even have electricity? We
    already know most people cannot even program a VCR...)

    For film, I will rely on Fuji. And some day, I will go digital... But I
    would never depend on Kodak for any of my photographic needs.

    Jean, Sep 25, 2003
  17. I am not sure about your or the Journal's interpretation of the facts,
    but from a photo stand point it is only an acknowledgment that film is a
    mature well developed product that does not need much in any additional
    development. On the other hand digital is a new product and has a lot of
    room for improvement and innovation.
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 25, 2003
  18. Gordon Moat

    Jeremy Guest

    x-no-archive: yes

    Kodak made their fortune by providing CONSUMERS with the ability to take
    photographs, without needing lots of specialized knowledge or equipment.
    Their slogan was, "You press the button, we do the rest." Unfortunately the
    world has changed, and consumers have grown more sophisticated. In
    addition, Kodak no longer monololizes the consumer camera and film markets.
    I think that Fuji's introduction into the American market really was the
    straw that is breaking Kodak's back.

    Kodak no longer brings any unique products to the table. Technology has
    caught up with them, and they are just reading the handwriting on the wall.
    That is too bad--I really wish them well--because they were the ones that
    introduced the common men and women to photography.

    But, seriously, how much more can film be improved? The real potential for
    improvement is in digital imaging. Film is a mature technology, and Kodak
    can spend a ton of money on R&D, and it will probably yield only a slim
    margin of improvement.

    It reminds me of the last gasps of cassette recorders--with Dolby-S and
    those critically-aligned heads. But even Nakamichi has produced their last
    high-end cassette deck. There just comes a point where the new technology
    kills the old. Sure there will always be some adherents of the old
    technology--but their numbers srop to the point that it is not profitable to
    sell to that market.

    I'm not so sure that Kodak is to blame for their hard times. They just
    couldn't keep innovating.

    Truly, I am sorry to hear that they seem to be positioning to abandon film
    once it loses its head of steam.
    Jeremy, Sep 25, 2003
  19. Gordon Moat

    Alan Browne Guest

    There exists no product that can't benefit from continued improvment in
    quality, be it quality of manufacturing, features, variety,
    service,...there is always, always, always room for improvement...

    Alan Browne, Sep 25, 2003
  20. Gordon Moat

    Alan Browne Guest

    Alan Browne, Sep 25, 2003
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