Tough times at Eastman Kodak at DVinfo.net

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Old October 20th, 2005, 08:42 AM   #1
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Tough times at Eastman Kodak

Bad day for film lovers.... Kodak posted its largest ever quarterly loss yesterday - $1.03 billion which puts it at the bottom of the S&P 500 with their debt rating at junk status:

http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/051019/kodak_earns.html?.v=6

Quote:
several analysts could not reconcile Kodak's optimism with its weak performance and sluggish market trends.

"Everything that the company is saying says that things are continuing to progress. (But) it is hard to verify that independently. You are taking it with a lot of faith," said analyst Jamelah Leddy, of McAdams Wright Ragen.
Meanwhile Agfa Photo announced that it would likely go out of business and layoff all of its employees:

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/051019/germa...tion.html?.v=5

Quote:
The Leverkusen-based photographic film company had filed for bankruptcy protection in May amid declining sales and fierce competition from digital cameras.
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Old October 20th, 2005, 01:47 PM   #2
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Whens the last time you took a picture on film (still camera)?

Yea, Kinda sad really, thats the way the world goes round. I actually cant rememeber that last time I shot a picture on film (still camera). Damn digital, its made the magic of waiting for the picture to develope lost forever.
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Old October 20th, 2005, 04:03 PM   #3
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It is sad, but inevitable. The buggy whip gives way to the gas pedal!

Film may never go away for good, but it will definitely go way down. The only film I have used in years is disposable cameras at fishing tournaments. Pro photographers will use it for many more years and hopefully keep it alive for a while longer.

Change it the only thing that stays constant!

Mike
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Old October 21st, 2005, 08:59 AM   #4
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See, to me, the wise thing to have done for Kodak (or any business) would have been to keep a purse going during the good times with an eye towards building up enough to invest in whatever tech will inevitabely take the place of the original....they should have seen this coming for quite some while now, had the suits any vision. I know they have some rinky dink little digital cameras with their logo on them (though I doubt actually manufactured by them)...but they could have taken their well established brand and reputation and parlayed it into a very successful line of new digital imaging tools.....even motion picture cameras. For instance, if Kodak came out with a 24p camcorder with gammas that match the response of specific film stocks, I and I assume tons of others would have jumped all over it, forsaking the efforts of more or less any other manufacturer.
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Old October 21st, 2005, 10:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Runyon
See, to me, the wise thing to have done for Kodak (or any business) would have been to keep a purse going during the good times with an eye towards building up enough to invest in whatever tech will inevitabely take the place of the original....they should have seen this coming for quite some while now, had the suits any vision. I know they have some rinky dink little digital cameras with their logo on them (though I doubt actually manufactured by them)...but they could have taken their well established brand and reputation and parlayed it into a very successful line of new digital imaging tools.....even motion picture cameras. For instance, if Kodak came out with a 24p camcorder with gammas that match the response of specific film stocks, I and I assume tons of others would have jumped all over it, forsaking the efforts of more or less any other manufacturer.
Hi Daniel,

I know that it always sounds so easy to those who have not actually been in business to say, take all those big profits that you make and put some away for rainy days, but it is not how real life is.

First, there are not always huge profits to be stashed away, that is a myth that is kind of perpetuated by those who are against big business. For most business's it is a constant battle to keep innovating, producing your products, paying employees, and battling the competition. You may stumble into a new exciting product, on which you hold a patent, and you can make huge profits for a short time, but then your patent will expire quickly, unlike a copywrite. You constantly have to update equipment and processes. Prices for what you sell go down, because of competition, and labor costs go up. Look at GM for instance; they just posted a huge loss of 1.6 billion dollars. It is not all roses. I was in business for about 15 years and managed to get by, pay the bills, pay employees, taxes, insurance, etc., but any extra money had to be put into new equipment and tooling etc.. I tell everyone, that I did not have any money until I sold the business!

Second, Kodak did, and it still, making attempts to change and move into other related products. The problem is that to jump from making film, to mass producing high-end consumer priced digital camcorders that are better than the competition and can sustain the company, is nearly impossible. They would have to battle and overtake old well established companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Canon, etc. and others, like Texas Instruments, who own the patents on most all of the technology used in these devices. Old technology is available, but you can't compete with it! So that means you pay stiff fees for use of patented technology, or invest millions or billions of dollars to try and out-invent the people who have been doing it for decades. The task is daunting to say the least. You can compare it with buggy whip makers attempting to build a whole new line of automobiles from scratch, to compete with GM, Ford and Toyota.

Kodak may yet survive all of this and emerge with a more diverse line and again flourish, and I hope so. But it will take a long time and much reorganization. And of course, when they lay off people and close plants in order to do this reorganization, they are and will be vilified the by people and the press for not caring about their workers, and not puting their employees above profits! It is the never ending cycle of change!

Anyway, that is just my two cents. Have a great day Daniel!

Mike
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Old October 21st, 2005, 01:17 PM   #6
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This was bound to happen. This echoes of what happened to the vinyl record industry when CD's hit the market back in the 80's. Many folks then, (and some still today) argue the quality of music from a record is better than that from a CD. Same deal with Film vs. digital formats. Alas, the majority of people want it cheaper, faster and more convenient, and the digital model supports that.

If I were a Kodac employee, I'd be polishing up my resume...
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 08:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Runyon
See, to me, the wise thing to have done for Kodak
Kodak, wise? When?

Worst run company ever! Their downfall was buying over priced Bayer Asprin twenty years ago and never recovered from that lose when they should have countered Fuji's grabbing of the marketshare with a decent film product. That might have helped the long run into the 21th century.

I remember shooting a wedding for a local (NJ) Kodak VP's daughter. I told him I use Fuji film and he said, "I hope so."


I still miss Tri-X
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