Hoarding Kodak = Killing Kodak?

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by PeteZ8, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. PeteZ8

    PeteZ8 Member

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    Nobody is for certain what the future holds for Kodak. We all hope that to some degree their coating business will continue to operate far into the future. But I had a thought earlier. If a large number of photographers go out and hoard film, there will be a nice little spike in sales, followed by what could be a long, and steep, drop in sales as people get over their fears and shoot out their stock. Even more dangerous is that film is a perishable item. That could reflect very poorly on a quarterly balance sheet, especially for a company that is under judicial oversight for finances.

    I'm sure that there won't be enough hoarders to really show as a blip on the financial radar, but I think the theory is interesting enough to discuss.
     
  2. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Member

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    I think that the photo market is so small compared to the motion picture market that on the industrial scale necessary to move the needle, it makes little difference. The limiting factors are people's disposable income to hoard, and storage space. Those are finite.
     
  3. PeteZ8

    PeteZ8 Member

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    If photographers are strictly depending on movie film to keep still image film afloat at Kodak, we might as well give up now. I don't see Hollywood shooting much film in the coming years; not with 8k around the corner and the proliferation of digital projectors in theaters.
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Due to its sheer size and capacity, Kodak could sustain an analog output in B&W and Color as big or 10x bigger than Ilford and still leave room for Fuji. This is profitable. If it were not, there would be no Ilford.

    Therefore, the problem lies within Kodak. But, it can be done.

    PE
     
  5. stavrosk

    stavrosk Member

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    I don't think we can do anything other that still buy film. Kodak must find other ways to sustain its business. Whatever we do will only be temporary. The decline in film sales is real but Kodak should have found ways to keep its business profitable. Its not the market's fault.
     
  6. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Member

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    It is ALWAYS the market's fault. It's hard to blame the seller when there are fewer buyers.
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If the buyer is somehow convinced that he cannot buy film then it is not the buyer's fault. I now have no place near me to buy any sort of film. I can get disposable cameras and I can mail order film.

    PE
     
  8. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    A spike in sales is still beneficial because it gives hints about how many people might still buy film when the threat to supply is not present. I wouldn't be surprised if Ilford watches this sort of thing very carefully, on guard for contagious panic. They sell film too, remember? Film's going to die, right? Why wouldn't they be watchful. Kodak is their canary.

    In a robust film market a hundred rolls is 'stocking up'. But when Kodak declares bankruptcy it's 'hoarding'. I'd better keep it in the basement with the canned beans and 16 gauge deer slugs. :laugh:

    s-a
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I don't think any sales can be bad at this point, even if they are one-off, big purchases that won't repeat. Film makers are not going to scale up production and get stuck with inventory; if anything they will scale back and raise prices.
     
  10. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    A surge in sales of endagered films could certainly help rethink their direction at this critical juncture. Toward the end I got the impression they
    were lopping off this and that in desperation. Now that the worst is over
    (temporarily) they can think smaller and more sustainably. Hard to get a
    firm clue, but they seem to have withdrawn their discontinuance notice of
    Ektar sheet film from their website since Chapter 11 and maybe want to
    leave the option still there. But panic hoarding of Ilford back during their
    troubles was probably a factor in Forte's demise. I'm stocking up the freezer to capacity for my own sake. But one positive thing all us hoarders can do is rotate our inventory with fresh stock if it becomes available and
    affordable again, and keep business steadily flowing to Kodak. For instance, I plan to participate in any upcoming custom runs of 8X10 TMY,
    both to replenish what I shoot and to help sustain Kodak's committment.
     
  11. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    The buyer is somehow convinced that he cannot buy film?

    News flash, Kodak isn't stocking film for 8x10, except for E-6, and this is the last year there will be Ilfochrome. It's special order, through Canham. The local supermarket has Fuji instant cameras, but it's been awhile since they carried any 35mm film. Maybe the drug store has 35mm, since they do processing. I don't know, as I shoot mostly MF and LF, and so I'm always going to Seattle's only pro film store, Glazer's Camera.

    There is one place locally that develops by mail order, and there's only three pro film labs. None handle color LF. So people who want to have fun with Holgas, Lomos, and the rest, must do like I do, and send it mail order. The remaining labs are not convenient, as in, no parking in the area.

    The guys who buy the big freezers have special film needs anyways, like ULF, or something is tuned to their process. I just bought two boxes of Kodak color film, and I do hope that I can get more in the future. But I won't stop shooting 8x10 if I can't get color film for it.
     
  12. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    In general, manufacturers would prefer steady predictable demand, not spikes due to hoarding. In theory a spike right now would signal continuing interest but I doubt a sophisticated company or buyer would make a long term investment decision based on that.

    Film is in the "long tail" phase of it's lifespan, where demand slowly declines over a long period of time, demand concentrates over a smaller base, and it's offered at fewer and fewer locations (i.e. you can still buy buggy whips, but not at your local hardware store). It's not stocked everywhere because it wasn't selling. Not the other way around.

    Much depends on Kodak's cost structure. I think it's pretty much a given that film sales can't support Kodak as we know it today, but that doesn't mean it can't be a profitable business in and by itself. Perhaps with less spent on R&D; I don't know. Even though film production may be more capital intensive than labor intensive, it's certainly possible that a profitable business could be based in China or (as we see with Efke and others) eastern Europe.

    An interesting alternative would be contract manufacturing. I.E. Kodak or "son of Kodak" would use it's considerable capacity and expertise to manufacture film designed and marketed by others. Similar to contract manufacturing in foods; where you take my recipe and produce a product for me to market. I don't know if this is technically feasible, but this could be the best scenario - combining economies of production scale and high quality with a variety of end products. Whether this would be economical as a US based facility I don't know.

    None of what I've said is rocket science. If these scenarios are feasible, they are certainly being considered. But they may require time and capital - 2 scarce resources.
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Actually, film making is akin to rocket science or bio-engineering! It is very complex. Formulas do NOT move between plants gracefully and certainly not between manufacturers. So, we have a dilemma here!

    PE
     
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  15. CGW

    CGW Member

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    A surge in sales of endagered films could certainly help rethink their direction at this critical juncture.

    Really? The only constant is the collapse of demand for film products. Inventories were already thin before the Ch. 11 announcement but no retailer would interpret a few panic buyers as evidence of a reversal of a decade-old trend. Hoarders aren't "new" demand.
     
  16. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Kodak is encouraging hoarding, whether they know it or not. The Canham film selling scheme (which I am thankful for and have used) is essentially Kodak telling people to buy lots of film at once because you don't know when there will be a special order again.
     
  17. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I didn't say that film making isn't rocket science, I said identifying the business alternatives is not rocket science. These are approaches that have been used successfully in many industries with varying complexity (packaged foods, chemicals, high tech electronics). For example, Foxconn manufactures the iPhone as well as many other high tech products for other companies.

    That doesn't mean that it CAN work for film production. If "Formulas do NOT move between plants gracefully" that is certainly a deterrent. Whether it's insurmountable (given the potential returns) I don't know.



     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Visited Glazer's today and enjoyed looking at the fridges with lots of film. Bought some too.

    They must have had a really big Ilford shipment recently, because their paper inventories are excellent.

    Chemistry shelves looked good too - lots of new bottles there.

    Seemed to have decent amounts of 4x5 film, and at least some 8x10 too (I don't always notice, as I don't shoot LF).

    Seemed a good supply of Fuji Crystal Archive paper, and Kodak RA-4 "kits".

    They were, as usual, quite busy.

    It was fun!
     
  19. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    That would be true if the number of suppliers equaled 1. That is not the case.

    s-a
     
  20. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    Wow,

    I live in a very small town, about 2200 folks. There are at least 5 places to buy film, including two grocery stores, Ben Franklin, Jewelry store (dabble in photo gear), and the local hardware store. Granted not a great selection, but some do carry both slide and print options as well as B&W.

    Thirty minutes away, there is a real camera shop that will stock anything you want them to, as long as you do continue to buy it. They also offer in-house 35mm and 120 processing/printing/scanning.

    I'm very surprised that people in places like Rochester are having a tough time finding film locally. Wonder why this discrepancy. More film users in a rural area?
     
  21. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I am completely against hoarding. Hoarding is terrible! It is so bad that I do what I can to combat it. When I hear that a film is going to be discontinued, I rush out and buy all that film that I can find and afford. The film goes into my freezer. Thus, I keep at least that portion of the film from falling into the hands of the dreaded film hoarders. Man, I just do what I can to help. No need for thanks.

    Please join me and do your part!

    Steve
     
  22. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    Your devotion to providing a home for these unwanted, archaic, dying products in these very difficult times is much appreciated. :laugh:

    s-a
     
  23. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    I live 30 minutes from both Peoria Illinois and Bloomington Illinois. I can get 35mm Fuji print film at the local Wal-Marts and Meijer, 35mm Kodak print film at the local Target. Fuji & Kodak disposable cameras at Wal-Mart, Fuji disposables at Meijer and Kodak disposables at Target. But I don't shoot color print film. Most of what I do is E-6, with the occasional roll of B&W. The Camera Corner in Bloomington no longer sells slide film, though they do sell T-Max and Tri-X. Peoria Camera Shop has a few rolls of Provia 100F and once that's gone they won't have slide film any more either. So getting color film will be all online shopping for me once Peoria Camera is out of Provia. I can get the film delivered to my door in 2 business days from "the big two" in NYC. Both UPS Ground and FedEx Ground deliver in two days from there for me, so there's no need to ship 2nd day Air to get that fast a delivery time. And even with shipping costs its still less expensive than buying locally.

    As for E-6 and B&W processing, it's all drop-off at Wal-Mart or Meijer (Fuji), or I can drop it at either The Camera Corner or Peoria Camera Shop. Fastest turn-around for E-6 is at The Camera Corner (about a week, they send it to their store in the Quad Cities), Fastest turn-around for B&W is at Peoria Camera Shop, where they have an in-house lab that handles everything except E-6, for which they have the slowest turn-around (2-3 weeks vs. 10 days-2 weeks for Wal-Mart (Fuji)).

    ME Super
     
  24. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Every time I think about hoarding something another favourite gets threatened. I can't afford to keep up with stocking up.
     
  25. RobertoMiglioli

    RobertoMiglioli Member

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    I think hoarding film is natural as we all want to keep shooting as long as we can. But we are missing the point: PROPAGANDA. Kodak needs change its marketing strategy. When digital cameras first came into market Kodak simply gave up the fight, assuming film was doomed. If they have marketed the benefits of using films they would be much better now.

    C´mon!! There are companies selling CIGARETTE!! It smells bad and gives cancer and even so with good propaganda they sell cigarettes.

    It is not too late for a change.
     
  26. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    Much of the film I have "hoarded" would sell for considerably more today than even a year ago. I'm beginning to see it as an investment. It has probably out-performed the stock market.