Monday, 3 October 2011

Kodak, is the writing on the wall...

... I've read a lot of reports this weekend about the state of the film giant, none of it makes good reading. The vultures already seem to be circling, waiting to feast on the estimate $2 billion worth of digital related patents that the yellow film box company has tucked away. Only the threat of being dragged through the courts by Kodaks creditors seems to be stopping a feeding frenzy.

Back in the day when I ran a E-6 pro lab we sold and processed a great deal of Kodak film, though when Fuji up'd their game and introduced Velvia, Provia and eventually Astia, we saw a decline in Kodak usage among our professional clients. Both sales of and processing of Kodak film took a big hit, probably a 70/25% split in Fuji's favour, with Agfa and Konica making up the remaining 5%. At the time the Kodak film catalogue was huge, there were eight different 100 ASA transparency emulsions, which was ridiculous, but Kodak kept coming out with more, whilst never deleting any of the older emulsions as they still sold. 

But it has been digital that has really hit the company, though it was an early pioneer of digital photography it never monopolised it's lead, it's own shareholders holding it back at the time, insisting that Kodak was a film producing company, very shortsighted in hindsight. Now a company that used to be worth £31 Billion is now worth £600 million, with it's shares dropping by the hour. Now at 70 cents a share with trading suspended could this be the end for Kodak? Their patent portfolio seems to be all that anyone is interested in, so will the film production go the way of Kodachrome. It's all very sad, seeing as there has been a bit of a renaissance in photographic film use, driven by plastic toy cameras and people rediscovering the discipline required shooting film.

Below are a couple of links to a few of the articles I've read today. It really doesn't look good though. /2011/10/02/what-i-saw-as-kodak-crumbled/

No comments: