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Since Kodak entered bankruptcy protection and sold off its shares last year, it has stopped manufacturing cameras. Despite this, it is determined to stay strong in the printer market, and sold its image sensor business to raise additional finance.
Joshua Waller spoke to the Trade Marketing Manager of the company, Paul Davey, to find out more.
Paul claims that the camera business that Kodak has now left was losing money, and this is why the company pulled out, despite Kodak winning a variety of awards for its products.
In these tough times, many camera companies have merged, such as Pentax with Ricoh and Sanyo with Panasonic, but as Paul explains, that already has dealings with many other companies:
“We have licenses with more than 30 companies, including several of the leading sellers of DSLRs, through which we have derived more than $3 billion in revenue. For some time, Kodak’s strategy has been to improve margins in the capture device business by narrowing our participation in terms of product portfolio, geographies and retail outlets." Paul thinks that the phasing out of the capture device business is the logical thing to do, given Kodak's analysis of industry trends.
Kodak used to be one of the most innovative companies out there, being among the first to use Wi-Fi and CMOS sensors in compact cameras. Paul retains that the reason for the drop in innovation is that Kodak has moved into different areas where it can see "sustainable and profitable growth". This explains, then, why Kodak suddenly stopped including photo printing docks with its easy share cameras, as Wi-Fi and technology advanced. "Technology provided more cost effective solutions for printing lab quality photos at home.” explains Paul.
Despite Kodak entering bankruptcy protection, Paul says the company expects to "complete its US based restructuring during 2013," listing the company's goals to “bolster our liquidity in the U.S. and abroad, monetize our non-strategic intellectual property, fairly resolve legacy liabilities, and enable Kodak to focus on its most valuable business lines.”
Kodak Hero 7.1 All-In-One Printer
These valuable business lines appear to be in the printing market, with new printers such as the Kodak Hero 7.1. “Kodak’s Consumer Business will include online and retail-based photo printing, as well as desktop inkjet printing,” says Paul.
Along with printing, Kodak seeks to expand its current brand licensing programme, seeking licences for cameras.
Overall it seems that this decision, so far, has turned out in Kodak's favour, as in 2011 Kodak came out as the number 2 brand in the UK. Paul says this is down to consumers “enjoying Kodak’s unique business model of lower inks costs for a small premium on the printer together with the marketing leading performance of Kodak’s unique pigmented inks that offer brilliant colour and long-lasting prints.” So, even though it is no longer making cameras, Kodak seems to have found another area within the photography business in which it hopes to thrive.