Kodak to Stop Selling Traditional Cameras in U.S.

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by Howard McCollister, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. 80% of camera volume sales by Nikon and Canon is digital. Both are trimming
    their line of film cameras a lot, and it's pretty apparent that both of
    these film camera giants will be out of the film camera business altogether
    in a couple of years. Within 5 years, you won't be able to buy film at
    Target any more than you can buy vinyl LP records there.

    HMc
     
    Howard McCollister, Jan 14, 2004
    #1
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  2. Howard McCollister

    AT Guest

    Technology - Reuters

    Kodak to Stop Selling Traditional Cameras in U.S.
    1 hour, 12 minutes ago Add Technology - Reuters to My Yahoo!


    By Franklin Paul

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE:EK - news) on Tuesday
    said it will stop selling traditional film cameras in the United
    States, Canada and Western Europe, another move by the photography
    company to cut lines with declining appeal in favor of fast-growing
    digital products.



    With sales of digital cameras poised to overtake film cameras for the
    first time this year, Kodak is redefining itself in an effort to keep
    pace.


    But the No. 1 maker of photographic film will continue to sell
    one-time use cameras in the West and expand its sales of these and
    other film-based cameras -- and film -- in emerging markets where
    demand is on the rise.


    Shares of Kodak eked out narrow gains on Tuesday after the
    announcement, and was one of the few blue chip stocks to close higher
    on the New York Stock Exchange (news - web sites).


    The move comes amid Kodak's controversial plan to focus on high-growth
    digital products, such as medical imaging systems and production
    printing, and reduce dependence on its declining film business. Late
    in 2003, Kodak said it would stop making slide projectors, but still
    manufactures color slide films.


    "Every one of these steps indicates more and more the strength of
    Kodak's conviction of moving toward digital," said analyst Shannon
    Cross of Cross Research. "However, the jury is out on whether (the
    digital strategy) will work."


    Blaming declining demand, the Rochester, New York-based company said
    it would by the end of this year quit making reloadable cameras that
    use 35-millimeter film, including those in the Advanced Photo System,
    or APS, format.


    In 1996, when it was unveiled, Advantix was hailed by Kodak as the
    "most important photographic announcement since Instamatic
    cartridge-loading cameras were introduced in 1963."


    FILM STILL GROWING IN EMERGING MARKETS


    Kodak will still make film for existing Advantix and other cameras,
    and intends to introduce new high-performance 35 millimeter and
    Advanced Photo System films next month.


    Camera makers typically make little profit -- or lose money -- on
    hardware, but enjoy strong margins from sales of supplies such as film
    and paper, which much be replaced frequently.


    Kodak said that it plans to continue making reloadable cameras that
    use 35-millimeter film in emerging markets, such as China, India,
    Eastern Europe and Latin America and that it will introduce six new
    cameras in those markets this year.


    "(We) estimate that there are 60 million Chinese consumers who have
    the purchasing power to participate in photography, but have not
    bought their first camera," said Kodak spokesman Charles Smith.


    Under Kodak's new strategy, unveiled in September, it will shift its
    investments into digital markets with greater growth potential than
    the waning film market. But film still provides ample revenue for
    Kodak -- over 120 million rolls of film are sold each year
    industry-wide.


    According to estimates by InfoTrends Research Group, global film
    camera shipments in 2004 will shrink to 36 million units from about 48
    million in 2003, while digital camera shipments will rise to 53
    million from 41 million units.


    Other companies that helped develop APS -- Canon Inc (7751.T), Fuji
    Photo Film Co. Ltd.(4901.T), Minolta Co Ltd.(7753.T), and Nikon
    Corp.(7731.T) -- will continue to make APS cameras.


    "The consumer who has APS likes it a lot, but the growth potential is
    probably tapped out from Kodak's standpoint," said Gary Pageau,
    spokesman of the Photo Marketing Association, an industry
    organization.





    Shares of Kodak closed up 3 cents at $26.36 in New York Stock Exchange
    trade on Tuesday.
     
    AT, Jan 14, 2004
    #2
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  3. Howard McCollister

    Ron Andrews Guest

    Oh please! Consumer film cameras will be scarce at common retail
    outlets (like Target) in a few years, but film will continue to be available
    for many years to come. I can still buy 110 film at my grocery store. I can
    still buy Kodachrome there as well. I have to go to a specialty outlet to
    buy super 8 movie film. While I'm there I can pick up a roll of Tri-X (it
    will be 50 years old this year). If I want 124 or 616 size film I have to go
    to a re-spooler like filmforclassics.com. (The last camera to use these
    formats was made over 50 years ago.)
    Digital cameras will replace film cameras for many uses, but not all. I
    would suggest that film is more like audio cassette tape than vinyl LPs.
    Digital cameras are like CD's and cell phone cameras are like MP3 files. The
    point of this analogy is that all of these media will find an enduring place
    in the market.
     
    Ron Andrews, Jan 14, 2004
    #3
  4. Howard McCollister

    Bobs Guest

    Wheew--I'm so jaded by all the digital discussion here that I thought
    "traditional" included my new 14n. OTOH maybe that's next...
     
    Bobs, Jan 14, 2004
    #4
  5. Howard McCollister

    JK Guest

    APS reminds me of the premium ice cream that boasted great taste
    and much fewer calories per cup. Their trick? The pumped plenty
    of air into the ice cream. Charge a higher price per pint, and give
    people less weight of ice cream in the pint.
    The idea wasn't aimed at getting them to buy new cameras, but instead
    to get consumers to be happy paying a higher price and getting much
    less area of film per roll.
     
    JK, Jan 14, 2004
    #5
  6. Sounds like the only thing we disagree on is the time frame. As to enduring
    place in the market, sure, film media will hang around to some small level
    because there will always be hobbyists and curmudgeonly hangers-on, just as
    there are are such retro-audiophiles that rant on about how their vinyl LPs
    sound better than CDs.

    Your grocery store still carries film, and Tri-X is still available, because
    up to now, there hasn't been anything that has come along to replace it.
    Your audio cassette analogy is not bad, but it is flawed by the same
    concept - the reason audio cassette tape is still around is that we're only
    now starting to see wide penetration of recordable CDs. I note that we are
    starting to see whole lines of cars where you can't even get a cassette
    player as a factory option.

    I'll bet you could buy Super 8 film cartridges at your grocery store too.
    When LPs and Super 8 home movie film were eclipsed by their digital
    equivalents, they disappeared from the corner store shelves in a heartbeat.
    Film might take a little longer, but in a few years, you're going to have to
    do a Google search to find any to buy.

    HMc
     
    Howard McCollister, Jan 14, 2004
    #6
  7. Howard McCollister

    BCampbell Guest

    You must have missed the part in the Kodak announcement where they talked
    about film sales growing at double digit rates in major markets such as
    China, India, and Latin America. If they make film for those markets, as
    they obviously will, then film will continue to be available. Maybe at fewer
    outlets, maybe at higher prices, who knows, but film will hardly become
    something sold only to "hobbyists and curmedgeounly hangers on" when its
    sales are booming in major markets all over the world.
     
    BCampbell, Jan 14, 2004
    #7
  8. Those emerging markets you are talking about are emerging digital imaging
    markets as well. The same thing will happen there; they are just on a
    different timeline.

    If you are suggesting that 10 years from now, it may be easier/cheaper to
    buy your 35mm film from China because it's no longer very available in the
    US, then I agree with that.

    HMc
     
    Howard McCollister, Jan 14, 2004
    #8
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