All these anecdotes befuddle the data. The hard financials for Kodak (and what I've been reading for Fuji) point to multi-year losses for film as the race to deflate the overhead was easily outrun by the loss of consumer and lately motion picture revenues. The pension and medical liabilities are still hangovers from the film era for Kodak and mean that the preponderance of red ink stems from over a 90% drop in photo film sales. Kodak is bankrupt because people stopped buying film en masse. Every other factor is trivial.
Yes cinema film subsidized photo markets. So what? Same for Fuji.
Last year the motion picture camera makers stopped making new cameras. The rental houses are only using new old stock. This turns the entire film-based cinema market from an industrial operation to a salvage operation. They may have less than 10 years of depreciation left on those cameras as spare parts are also going to become scarce and uneconomical.
Every analyst who has looked at Kodak financials sees film as a non-performing asset with a rapidly declining user base and the abandonment if supporting industry third parties--the makers of cameras and the evisceration of local stores that sell and process film.
All I am saying is the need to reinvent film consumption cannot occur when people cling to old perceptions. Film for the average consumer lost the quality and convenience battle. A few artisanal shooters with access to $200 scans may breach the all-digital pre-press barrier but realistically film is no longer a medium of economic utility. It's a hobby. Is there enough demand there to keep the coating lines rolling? Big question that the ugliness about Kodak is soon to pry open.
Nobody's doubting that the amateur consumer market for film has signficantly deflated and isn't coming back. After all, if you're going to stay in business you need to sell expendables, and in consumer electronics the whole point is to make cameras or whatever that become obsolete as quickly as possible. It's that whole idiotic "latest and greateset" mentality that keeps it going. That's
an entirely different question from keeping an important color film niche open for serious commercial
and fine art users. Unfortunately, many mfg corps live or die based on peripheral issues, like not
reinvesting their profits wisely. But if there's a demand, the vacuum does seem to get filled by
at least where i am, the whole commercial lab infrastructure is dismantled. labs are vanished, no one is left who processes sheet film,
e6+c41 maybe 1 day a week ( 1 lab left that processes 120 ) ... so, unless you are processing it yourself it probably
isn't the wisest move to be shooting color anything on a commercial job ...
maybe the "fine art" market is different if it isn't deadline based ...
while it is sad that kodak is restructuring, the writing has been on the wall for a long long time ...
it is too bad they didn't do this 10 years ago, we might still have kodak paper being made by a kodak subsidiary that is strong and profitable
instead of the current situation ...
I want to know where the fire sale on Ilford film is, because I'm in the market.