And has little to do with Kodak's financial issues.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
99.999% of their customer base went to digital despite Kodak being one of the most recognized brands with a staggering powerful marketing structure and film an iconic product in its own right. Until about 5 years ago Kodak seemed to be handing the transition to digital quite well and has one of the largest patent portfolios for digital in the imaging industry.
But the near total collapse of film sales came about much faster than anticipated and management started making some dreadful, ad hoc decisions, like trying to be a printer company at the same time as online sharing was just taking off, and bungling Kodak Gallery which initially was a much better system than Flickr. Management was counting on a revenue stream from film sales that literally went down by 90% over about 16 business quarters.
Anything a few Directors said or did during that timeframe would not have stopped those losses. The consumers voted in massive numbers, quickly, and irrevocably. Sometimes a market moves and no management can keep up or have such perfect foresight. This was not a situation where better marketing or even pricing could have helped. The entire cultural zeitgeist has changed, permanently. Film has no ability to compete against digital in the mass market.
Ironically, I think film can survive so long as it develops itself as a niche, "old school" product with certain look and historic appeal. Anyone who does purchase Kodak's film assets (and they will get them for near nothing as the revenues are in freefall with no known bottom) would be wise to go back to Kodak's original slogan: " You press the button, we do the rest". Ilford's tactic here is interesting with their mail-in system (although it is horrendously expensive for shipping). There is nowhere near enough home developing hobbyist demand to sustain industrial production lines for emulsions for 135 and 120, especially with virtually no new film cameras being made in any mass market quantity (Lomography sort of the exception, and more like a vulture than a pollinator). Any new investor will likely need to square that circle. Perhaps a white knight might come from the motion picture side of things?