What Kodak needs....seriously

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by ic-racer, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,470
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    (A fictional prediction based on the real events of the resurrection of Gibson USA guitars by Henry Juszkiewicz and David Berryman)

    Company History
    Kodak, one of the world's foremost manufacturers of film and photographic paper and, has enjoyed the respect of photographers for most of its century-long history. Its film and paper have been used by some of the best photographers known, including Ansel Adams, the Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Yousef Karsh. The company fell from its status as a premier film maker to near bankruptcy in the 2010s but was brought back to solvency and its former respect by new owners, Henry Juszkiewicz and David Berryman. Although best known for its photographic films and papers, by the mid-2010s the company also produced film cameras, lenses, and darkroom equipment.

    Turnaround under New Owners
    Juszkiewicz, who took over as company chairman, was eminently suitable to reverse the company's fortunes. A long-time Kodak film enthusiast and photographer, he had started selling and showing prints in high school and college. In addition to a film photographer's sensibility and an appreciation for the company's products, Juszkiewicz brought an MBA from Harvard and some tough business experience to bear on Kodak's problems.
    Juszkiewicz and Berryman began by firing 30 of Kodak's 250 employees, including all of the company's top management. They then began a series of acquisitions, including the purchase of Kenko, a manufacturer of film cameras and lenses, in 2012; "Impossible" Corporation, makers of instant film, in 2013; Bostick and Sullivan, makers of alternative process products; Jobo Analog, manufacturer of film processing equipment, and Omega, maker of professional quality darkroom equipment, in 2014. They also purchased the rights to the Agfa name and began re-creating classic Agfa film and paper products.
    Reissues of classic films and papers played an important role in refreshing the company's reputation. To re-create popular emulsions, such as Azo, the company retooled its factories and did MRI and liquid chromatography on preserved boxes of Azo to study their design. The popularity of these reissues encouraged Kodak to offer a special commemorative line of films (like Super-XX) for its 150th anniversary. In each month of of that year Kodak released a different film and paper. In addition to reviving the classic Kodak emulsions, the partners reestablished the company's chemistry division and expanded its line of products to alternative process products used in carbon printing, platinum printing and even a lines of daguerrotype and wet-plate products.
    Since taking over the company the partners have made strong efforts to win back the loyalty of successful photographers. Much of the old Kodak aura could be attributed to famous film photographers, such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. The company created a new operation to custom craft and coat special emulsions for artist and photographer celebrities. In addition, Kodak began wooing endorsements from well-known contemporary photographers by providing them with film and paper. Famous photographers who renewed or began endorsing Kodak included Annie Leibovitz, Andreas Gerske, Cindy Sherman, John Sexton. Many other digital photographers have joined the ranks of Kodak film users, such as John Paul Caponigro, David Black, Brian Moose Peterson and Joe Mcnally.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2012
  2. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

    Messages:
    756
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Location:
    NY
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    It's nice to dream but comparisons are futile. Gibson made great guitars in the '50s and early '60s..then got lost. Quality slipped, the true art of craftsmanship went out the window, and years of mediocrity ensued. But, "The" guitar didn't change...Gibson did. To resurrect their name, they first needed to start producing their iconic product (The Les Paul) with the same attention to detail as they did back in 1958-1961. Yes, wood has changed, Brazilian rosewood used for fingerboards back in the '50s and '60s is no longer available or much different. Pick up magnets are not the same and machine wounding assured precision but usually predictable and stale tone. Not what made the guitars of the past truly special and unique, piece by piece. Fast forward 50+ years and the guitar is essentially the same. It was just a matter of getting their proverbial shit together and move it into the new century by remembering what made them great in the first place. For Kodak, for as much the dream sounds appealing, is a matter of new technologies replacing the old at the consumer level. Endorsements from a bunch of old and iconic film names is not going to bring a 15 year old to pick up film, camera, paper and start breathing chemical fumes again. It's a lot easier to pick up a new Historic Les Paul Standard and a Marshall amp and make some good noise, just like the old days. Some things never change but for Kodak a lot has and they simply missed the boat. This is not to say that they couldn't revive things as a smaller group and once again focus on what made them great 50 years ago, but that would hardly be a success story.
     
  3. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

    Messages:
    450
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Location:
    Huntsville,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    But a setup like that will cost you. A good film camera and a few rolls of Portra is waaaaay more obtainable for people like me. The only 'inconvenience' is to makw the most of it you have to print it yourself or send it to a decent lab :smile:
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,591
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    IC, please send ten of whatever your are smokin' or snortin' ASAP!!
     
  5. Hikari

    Hikari Member

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I don't think this will help Kodak. The world is digital. This just makes Kodak an company competing in a small specialized market. I don't see shrinking Kodak to match the market is a "turn around." Kodak will need to do something special to regain its place in the photographic industry.

    But Kodak could focus on analog photography products. It would be nice to see Kodak survive. But maybe the market is really not big enough for the current players. But if Kodak fails, this might make Fuji and Ilford stronger and the film market stronger as well as each player gets a bigger slice of the pie by filling in the vacuum Kodak leaves behind.
     
  6. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

    Messages:
    756
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Location:
    NY
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    True...but it can be a one time expense, for life. I still have my 1953 Tele that I bought back in the late '70s and it sounds better than it did when new. Of course, I couldn't afford one today, but film, paper, chemicals, time, various darkroom equipment are an ongoing expense. I remember going to my father for my first guitar and amp when I was 14 and it was hard work to get him to splurge. I can just imagine the scene if I had to go to him every time I needed more film, and darkroom supplies :smile:
     
  7. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,083
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yes, buying up tiny niche companies and bringing back tiny niche products is not the way to regain a mass-market consumer base that never at any time cared about those things. And who doubts the quality of Kodak's products? Or at least their film products. Kodak's consumer empire was built on notions of ease-of-use and reliability. Kodak's current consumer offerings, are, well, not that.
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,470
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The bottom line is that Gibson, Harley Davidson and Fender are marketing nostalgia and they are doing better than when they were marketing a 'current product.' Someone needs to buy Kodak film division and do the same.
     
  9. zsas

    zsas Member

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Agree, market the "good ol days", look at the marketing Formulary uses, "old time", seems to work for them.

    Bring back the classic look, cater to us, can anyone afford to do it, anyone's guess...

    [​IMG]

    Image per:
    vintagephoto.tv
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2012
  10. benveniste

    benveniste Subscriber

    Messages:
    135
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The only thing that could help Kodak now is a time machine. There's no way they can make up a $2.6 billion pension liability by becoming a niche player. My own guess is that Kodak will be joining the ranks of "undead" companies such as Bell+Howell and Polaroid -- becoming little more than a brand-name for hire.
     
  11. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

    Messages:
    2,910
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Location:
    Southeastern
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    That would be a dream come true! :smile: Where could one purchase Kenko cameras in the US?
     
  12. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,596
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    "the" Richard Avedon? :tongue:
     
  13. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

    Messages:
    756
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Location:
    NY
    Shooter:
    35mm RF

    Yes, to some extent. But more importantly they are marketing a product that they have invented and hasn't changed and/or been replaced by new technology. A new Les Paul is and does the same thing as a 1959 model (for about $250K less obviously) but Kodak is dealing with digital replacing film and those are much stronger headwinds. Gibson recaptured a market that was simply waiting for them, with ZERO innovation to speak of. Not exactly the challenges that Kodak is facing. The comparison would make sense if digital wasn't around and Kodak just dropped the ball over the last 20 years and had Fuji eat their lunch with better product/marketing. Again, this is not to say that new management and a smaller, more focused company couldn't find a sweet spot (a la Ilford), but that's far from resurrecting a company to past glories by recapturing a market that was waiting for them, unchanged.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

    Messages:
    450
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Location:
    Huntsville,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    True :smile:

    But with my income, it's much easier for me to make a few small purchases (a few rolls of film, a 100-sheet box of paper or whatever) than one big each paycheck. Of course, I could just put a '53 Tele on my credit card and let my monthly bill be my 'little purchase' of the month :D
     
  16. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

    Messages:
    756
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Location:
    NY
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    BTW...all these Kodak discussions can be fun but endless..the bottom line is very simple: I have two teenage kids. I shoot nothing but film, I have cameras, lenses, books, chemicals, paper all over the place, thousands of rolls of film, and I shoot and print basically every single day, with rare exceptions. They think I am insane :smile: They enjoy seeing the prints, some of them hang on the walls at home, and find them interesting...but they are snapping away on their iPhones and living on social networks. When they want a print, they download it on their iMac and let their nice Epson spit it out. This is where it's at and no big shot photographer endorsing film is going to change that. It's just reality, whether we like it or not.
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,979
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    if getting people hooked on film again is somehow an option, i think they are hozed.

    i don't really think the general public really cares about anything but "instant"
    unless they rebuild what they were 50 years ago from a bombed out building
    and brainwash 99.5% of the population ... i think it might be time to move on ...
     
  18. stillsilver

    stillsilver Member

    Messages:
    261
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2006
    Location:
    Oakdale, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This is 100% dead-on. The vacation slide show or envelope of prints is now just posted on facebook right from the spot and that is as far as it goes.

    Mike
     
  19. Hikari

    Hikari Member

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    As opposed to Dick Avery. THE Richard Avedon supposedly never sang and danced.
     
  20. Hikari

    Hikari Member

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Ground them until they come to their senses...
     
  21. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,045
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Location:
    Monroe, WA, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I like it...

    Too often I think these discussions devolve into reiterating the same stale patterns over and over. I don't know how it is elsewhere, but in this culture (USA) the Wall Street mentality has permeated completely from top to bottom. Everyone thinks that way. Most do and don't even realize it. Many here do, and don't even realize it.

    If you can't be the biggest, the most powerful, the richest, the most controlling (that's a BIG one), well then, you can't be anything. You're a failure. Might as well kill the entire game by taking your ball and going home. Everything can - and should - be reduced to equivilent piles of $100 bills. And my pile has to be the biggest while your pile has to be empty. The success or failure of a business, or of an entire industry, is reduced to the level of clicking the Recalc button on a spreadsheet. Nothing else counts but the height of that pile. And nothing else should.

    You can even see it here all over APUG. How many times have you read it? If my broken camera will cost $75 to fix, but when fixed will only fetch $60 on eBay, my only choice is to throw it away. No matter that after it's fixed it will probably continue to work perfectly for another 20 years. No matter that it has worked perfectly for the previous 20 years. And no matter that $15 spread over 20 more years is only 75 cents per year. No, the Recalc button says throw it way. Why are you even wasting time thinking about it? Wall Street says just do it.

    Can Kodak survive? Of course. But it can't happen if those attempting to rescue it believe that the only valid definition of success is regaining 100% market share, a relisting on the Dow, a brand new film camera in the hands of every photographer on Earth, and dozens of worldwide coating facilities running 24/7/365 to supply them all. And regaining the biggest pile.

    If they believe that the only way to succeed in the future is to repeat the past, well... they haven't been paying attention to the past. And they have no credibility in now predicting the future.

    Ken
     
  22. ME Super

    ME Super Member

    Messages:
    1,226
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Location:
    Central Illinois, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    A little bit OT but in response to MaximusM3: I like to post pictures to facebook as much as the next person. I even shoot pictures using non-traditional capture sometimes. But I don't post them while I'm on vacation. Guess I'm too paranoid because I don't want just anyone knowing that I'm on vacation. Pictures get posted after I get back home.

    Seriously, why would you advertise on the Internet that you're not home??? Remember answering machines - they always said "Don't say you're not home." Posting pictures on facebook while you're on vacation is kinda the same thing!
     
  23. bwfans

    bwfans Member

    Messages:
    176
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This is actually one valid way to keep Kodak's name, not necessary to maintain the size of Kodak.

    If all money Kodak used to spent on digital, is instead spent on keeping and extending their analog product line, Kodak may still have a chance to maintain a 7,500 employee company.

    Another way to look at this: Kodak decided to spent all profit from film products on its remote inkjet business. The inkjet business, IMHO, will never be Kodak's cup of tea. Can you imagine that Kodak will beat Epson and Canon, or even HP? (If Kodak can , I guess IBM won't get rid of its PC and laptop business.) You guys probably know what kind of cameras Kodak has been marketing to American during past 50 years? Other than a few exceptions, Kodak cameras are mostly at the low end of the market, just one notch above what we currently called toy cameras :smile:. I believe Kodak will do better in chemical and film industry, but not in equipment manufacturing.

    Inkjet printing does not have a great future because publishing (books, magazines, and newspapers) business is a fast shrinking business. Home printing is not expanding fast enough. Instead most images will be stored in social network websites and home computers, and displayed in digital frames and digital readers with high quality screens.

    Kodak or Perez is interested in packaging material printing business - but how viable that business to Kodak is? Epson is also working on get into this field and it seems it is not easy to be established there.

    Anyway I believe Kodak should not totally give up its dominant market position at analog photographic product. A full switch over to just inkjet printing will kill Kodak instead.
     
  24. John Austin

    John Austin Member

    Messages:
    521
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Location:
    Southern For
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You forgot Voigtlander - I like the RF lenses and viewfinders produced by Cosina and use a 21mm regularly for recording the 10x8" NP work, but always refer to it as Cosina - I feel it is sad they used the name Voigtlander - (I have 4 real Voigtlander lenses and love the images they produce)

    I find the initial daydreaming a waste of time, unless IC can raise the funds to get the Kodak BW plants running again, in which case I will drink to his health and happiness
     
  25. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,470
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually the article in the OP is copied word for word directly from an article on Gibson with some clever "search and replace." I missed that one.
     
  26. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,470
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    And, again to complete the analogy. Digital music has had a significant impact on the electric guitar. The electric guitar is NOT the instrument of the new century. It is actually rare to hear an instrument that makes any noise by vibration played by a human on any current popular music. If the New Years shows I saw are any indication, no one even knows how to play an instrument. The music is all made in ProTools or Logic in the 'piano roll' window.