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View Full Version : It's official, Kodak is selling its film business.



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Steve Smith
08-25-2012, 11:28 AM
if Kodak doesn't find a buyer for the still film and paper business and it is halted, then it's another nail in the coffin for film.

And for Kodak. Actually, I think it would be a whole set of nails in Kodak's coffin if they did sell the film business.


Steve.

amsp
08-25-2012, 11:43 AM
It's a sad world we live in where companies who push around numbers on a screen get bailed out, but a company with a 130 year history of providing the world with the materials for creative expression is not. To my mind if we were ever to loose film all together it would be as tragic as loosing traditional painting in favor of Adobe software. I realize that the end of Kodak is not the end of film, but it would damn near be the end of color film, and I for one love me some Portra and Ektar.

I grew up shooting film but transitioned fully to digital in 2005 for professional reasons, only last year did I realize one didn't have to exclude the other. Also, it's clear to me now after about 8 months of shooting film again that digital is not a replacement, it's a complement. I see a certain soul in my film photos that is definitely missing in my digital ones. Hence, going forward when I'm shooting commercial stuff I reach for my PhaseOne back, but when I'm shooting editorial or lifestyle I'm just as likely to reach for my V-series Hassy loaded with Portra. I truly hope I will have this option for many years to come.

benjiboy
08-25-2012, 12:09 PM
They are only selling the film business if they can find a buyer, ask yourself this question, if you had or could borrow the financial resources to buy the Kodak film division in the current state of the photographic industry the economy, and photography in general would you ?

Ken Nadvornick
08-25-2012, 12:18 PM
Thank god Simon and the other managing partners at Ilford answered yes to that same question a few years back...

Ken

R.Gould
08-25-2012, 12:25 PM
They are only selling the film business if they can find a buyer, ask yourself this question, if you had or could borrow the financial resources to buy the Kodak film division in the current state of the photographic industry the economy, and photography in general would you ?

Simple awnser,Yes as I see a future in film

K-G
08-25-2012, 12:26 PM
Sal;

Also, Kodak requires highly skilled people for each and every operation. It is not like building a car, it is unique. So people are a major asset at EK. People are so critical that I knew of one product that was shut down for 6 months during the illness of the lead engineer. While a backup was being trained, no product was made. Of course, this was an error on the part of someone, but this kind of thing happens, and it illustrates the critical nature of each and every Kodak person.

PE

It gives me an extra good feeling to work with analogue film and photgraphic paper when I know how dependant it is on human beeings. Our everyday life is computer dependant enough as it is.

Karl-Gustaf

SkipA
08-25-2012, 12:26 PM
How much does Kodak invest in advertising their film explicitly? Maybe in the US they do, but that's just that, the US. Do you think that small difference will be that much relevant?

Kodak doesn't advertise film products on TV or billboards or in general interest magazines or online. They haven't done so for years. So there is no difference to be relevant. Film is already almost gone to most people, a part of history. The most common question I get when I'm out with my film cameras is "Can you still get film for that?"

What is relevant is the millions of consumers in the US who have film cameras and still buy film for birthdays, weddings, vacations, parties, etc. Yes, digital is very much in your face everywhere you go, but there are a lot of people who don't have cell phones or digital cameras. They are not big consumers of film individually, but they do buy enough collectively to persuade the grocery and drug stores to continue to stock at least one or two color negative films. That film is Kodak, 95% of the time. Fuji appears in the form of single-use cameras only. So when the Kodak film is no longer in the aisles at the store, it will be gone from the minds of the normal consumers who keep the sales going.

People like you and I may buy more film and more different types of film than the average consumer, but we are small in number, and so our sales do not amount to much.



How much does Ilford and Adox invest in marketing and branding? Will they increase that investment if Kodak is out of business?

In the US, zero. There is no marketing of film, period, unless you count internet ads on film-oriented web sites like this. But I don't, because the general public never sees it. Ilford and Adox and Fuji and Efke (until existing stocks run out) and Foma and the various repackaged private lable films are available on the internet to those who already know it exists. Ilford and Fuji can be found in some of the big remaining camera stores, if you are lucky enough to live near one.

I very much doubt that the small film manufacturers could affod to advertise their film products through traditional mass market outlets, so I doubt their investment in advertising will rise above the zero dollars spent on it today.



Too many questions... and on top of that I don't recall the last time I saw a Kodak ad for Portra, Ektar or Tri-X to name a few.

Exactly. Film is dead to a growing number of people already. The average consumer who still uses film cameras looks for it at the grocery and drug store, but others who use digital cameras and cell phones do not even see it.


Sure, there are plenty of faded stickers on the windows of the shops, but... I feel the general public already considers that Kodak is not making film any longer, since they are not using it and are not seeing it anymore.

Right. And that's not good for promoting future film sales, and it's a guaranteed recipe for further diminution of sales going forward.

I think retailers could do a better job of promoting the small amount of film they sell. I'm not a marketing person, but I'm sure that drawing attention to it would help sell more of it.



And still, youngsters turn to film and give it a try.

Fewer and fewer will. Out of sight, out of mind.



I think there's hope. I WANT to think there's hope while I enjoy as much as I can for as long as I can :D


That's it, I'll do the same next week with 320TXP, while it lasts it is far more better to use it than to start moaning about its future :cool:

Agree.

Steve Smith
08-25-2012, 12:27 PM
To my mind if we were ever to loose film all together.....

You don't want loose film. Keep it wound up tight or it will let the light in.


Steve.

Mustafa Umut Sarac
08-25-2012, 12:33 PM
I shoot color but however my best shots are bw. There are more Ilford sellers than the Kodak and I am fighting with Kodak Turkey since 1992 not bringing BW products to the market. They angered me very much. I dont see years of difference between 3 dollar negative films and FP4 is awesome. No Kodachrome , No Ektachrome , I dont lose too much after that if Kodak goes down. They milked the people for 130 years and thats enough.

markbarendt
08-25-2012, 12:33 PM
They are only selling the film business if they can find a buyer, ask yourself this question, if you had or could borrow the financial resources to buy the Kodak film division in the current state of the photographic industry the economy, and photography in general would you ?

Sure, there's still be money to be made.

The only real question for me would be "can the business and brand be bought and run at a cost that makes sense given current market conditions?"

benjiboy
08-25-2012, 12:50 PM
Sure, there's still be money to be made.

The only real question for me would be "can the business and brand be bought and run at a cost that makes sense given current market conditions?"
That's my point Mark, would you stake your children's inheritance on it ?.

Rafal Lukawiecki
08-25-2012, 01:32 PM
Should I give up the analog dream of creativity? [...] I just feel like the wind has just been taken out of my sails.

Don't give up. In the days of the early masters, for example Edward Weston in the 1920s, creativity was abundant, despite having far less choice of quality film, or other materials. Our chosen creative medium will work even without the extraordinary precision of Kodak's film, though, I sincerely hope, those materials do not vanish while they change their makers.

Prof_Pixel
08-25-2012, 02:01 PM
But, fact is that most young people goes into photography with digital cameras, children have mobile phones with cameras at the age when I had my old plastic camera.

I suspect very few now enter photography with digital cameras; rather, as you have noted, they start with a camera equipped smart phone.

mikendawn
08-25-2012, 02:10 PM
When you consider that Kodak has been in the film and camera business for 130+ years, and they decide to go and turn their line around and market solely for "Commercial Movie Film" and Commercial grade printing, leaving the consumer and prosumer market up in the air, it makes you wonder about the original company motto.

You take the picture, we do the rest....

They introduced the $1.00 camera to bring the camera into EVERYONES hands, not just a select few with a bit of disposable income, or those that saved up for a year to afford that one camera to use.
Sure, $1.00 was not exactly cheap when you were earning $0.04/hour, but when many cameras were $30, $40, or even $100, they were a dream come true!

Today, however, Kodak has seemingly flipped the coin and decided to completely forget about their grassroots and move to the beat of the Investors and Board of Directors, instead of listening to the masses (customers) demands. They've been doing this very thing for many years.
Their film division is modestly profitable, if not in the least BREAK EVEN, which means their supply is in line with the demand for their film.
But by selling it, their one department outside of Commerical Movie Film sales, that is at least profitable, will no longer be bringing in money for them, and leave them flopping around like a fish out of water.

Oh, and in response to my previous post of KODAK aiming at trying to stay profitable with CHEAP PRINTERS AND CHEAP INK and I was brutally told I was wrong...


Wow, are you wrong!

Kodak is not interested in the tiny home printers as a means of revenue, and in fact have considered selling it (or have already sold it), but I have not kept up with that end of EK.

What they are talking about are the big printers for producing books and other items having long runs. These printers are about the size of an automobile and can print hundreds of books in just a few minutes. This includes binding. In other words, POD.

PE



Well, guess what, right from the Horse's mouth

"Yes. We are taking the necessary steps to successfully emerge as a profitable, sustainable company. We are reshaping Kodak and continue to rebalance our company toward commercial, packaging and functional printing in which we have the broadest portfolio of solutions and enterprise services. These businesses have substantial long-term growth prospects worldwide and are core to the future of Kodak. Our competitive advantages in materials science and deposition technologies, as well as our know-how in digital imaging, will enable us to capitalize on those opportunities and extend our leadership in key growth markets.

In addition to the commercial, packaging and functional printing and enterprise services businesses, we will also continue to own and operate our Consumer Inkjet, Entertainment Imaging, Commercial Film, and Specialty Chemicals businesses given our strengths in these markets. "

http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/emergence-faq.htm

As stated before, they are planning on keeping their CRAP PRINTERS and CHEAP INK as a means of profit for their company.
I had already checked on the Kodak Website prior to posting what I posted, and never thought I'd have to defend my comment from the misinformed.

Yes, they are moving on to selling Printing Presses and large-scale printing means...

And in a world where E-BOOKS is becoming more and more popular, that's right in line with the current level of thinking going on with Kodak

markbarendt
08-25-2012, 02:17 PM
That's my point Mark, would you stake your children's inheritance on it ?.

At the right price, absolutely.

Prof_Pixel
08-25-2012, 02:17 PM
When you consider that Kodak has been in the film and camera business for 130+ years, and they decide to go and turn their line around and market solely for "Commercial Movie Film" and Commercial grade printing, leaving the consumer and prosumer market up in the air, it makes you wonder about the original company motto.

You take the picture, we do the rest....



As has been pointed out here many times, by me and several others, the current top management (going back 20 or more years) at Kodak doesn't understand the photographic business, and worst yet, doesn't seem to care it doesn't understand it. It's NOT George Eastman's company any more.

ChristopherCoy
08-25-2012, 02:33 PM
Its NOT George Eastman's company any more.



It isn't any of ours either... But there's still 20 something pages of accusations and blame.

cmacd123
08-25-2012, 03:22 PM
Part of the Confusion is that both "printing" and "film" include a wide range of products. The Kodak Management seems to more comfortable dealing with Industrial sales and large scale products. That is a long time Kodak speciality BTW. Many Things Kodak has sold over the years are Bolted to the floor.

Kodak has also been quietly selling off Product lines for years. I my early working days I used Kodqak Imagecapture Microfilm. That business is now spun off, and has also gone about 99% digital. It is not hard to see why in that case, for one of my other hobbies I was able to buy a single DVD, containing the information contained in what would have been probably 40 100ft rolls of Microfilm, or a couple of 4 drawer file cabinets. The folks who saved this information did a nice index and so I can pull up in a few moments all the correspondence between The Electronics Industry Association and the Electron Tube industry concerning the assignment of Tube type numbers. The tube industry is a prime example of what can go wrong. In 1975 one major TV set maker stoped using Tubes in their entire line, and now if one needs a new tube there are only a few suppliers in the former Iron Curtain Countries who only make the popular types for Guitar Amps.

The Microfilm/Document imaging business is now run by a spinoff and I guess that when they do need a batch of Microfilm, it too is run in the famous Building 38.

Kodak has made it rather confusing by keeping changing the names of the divisions which sell various products, and in the glory days it was actually simpler for them ot have complete silos between products. The Folks using Movie Film do have different needs than the folks doing portraits, the Die-hard News Guys needed different stuff again. Now the market is seeing more similarities than differences.

Several have mentioned what is now called "entertainment Imaging" (I can remember when it was Motion Picture and Audio/Visual Markets") who have 2 quite different product flows. Camera Film like Vision 5219 and lab and Print films. Fuji by the way fights tooth and Nail in both those segments and between the two they have the market sewn up. It is quite common for a production to use one firms Camera film but the print film from another. This is the year when the Print film market deflates substantially as the Motion Picture studios force theatres to no longer work from film prints. although the print stock is probably the less expensive stock that Kodak and Fuji sell on a per foot basis - it is also where the generated the most volume. I am not sure how fast the transition will be outside North America but suspect that volumes of 2383 and 3283 will drop such that Kodak will ship about what was one days worth of Sales back a few years ago over the course of a year in in couple of years.

Arkasha
08-25-2012, 03:38 PM
The tube industry is a prime example of what can go wrong. In 1975 one major TV set maker stoped using Tubes in their entire line, and now if one needs a new tube there are only a few suppliers in the former Iron Curtain Countries who only make the popular types for Guitar Amps.

Er, that's not quite true, fortunately.


Here is a site that lists some major vacuum tube dealers:

http://www.dogstar.dantimax.dk/tubestuf/tubesite.htm


The market is smaller than it was, but it does exist, and you can buy more than just tubes for guitar amps.

Pioneer
08-25-2012, 03:58 PM
My very simple prediction is that the film market will continue to shrink, and that will continue to be painful, for the consumer as well as the manufacturer and their employees. But, just like vacuum tubes, and typewriters as well, it will not go away entirely. There is even still a market for hand planes and for hand saws, but the big shops have not used these tools for generations.

For the photography enthusiast, and for certain professionals, film will continue to be necessary, and it will be available. The cost will likely go up, the number of different types will shrink, and the market will look much, much different than it does today. I had hoped Kodak would survive but now I am not so sure. It will certainly be interesting to see who is left in the market 10 years down the road.

Will there even be any labs around by then? Or will we be required to develop our own? Or will the labs be tiny little specialty places using Jobo machines to develop small batches? I for one do not intend to miss this. I will most certainly miss using Portra if it goes away, just like I will miss Efke 25. But there will be something else out there.

Maybe someone will manufacture a small machine that resembles what Jobo builds for developing, but that will manufacture your own film when you add in the proper ingredients. Maybe we will be able to go to the craft store and buy film kits. Portra kits, Pan F 50 kits, perhaps even Velvia 50 kits. Lots of options, even if Kodak, Fuji, or even Ilford go away. You make it, shoot it in your camera, and then stick it in a Jobo and develop it. Hmmm.