Kodak's new consumables

Maybe Kodak is starting to find a revenue and profit replacement for film, which is what it's always really needed rather than more amorphous "digital imaging products."

Eastman Kodak didn't really miss the digital wave.

In fact, it dipped its toes into digital relatively early on. One of the issues with Kodak's Photo CD effort wasn't that it was late to the digital photography game, but that the market wasn't ready to widely embrace photos in a digital form yet.

One can, of course, fairly fault Kodak for allowing itself to be pushed further and further toward the periphery of the photographic ecosystem as digital imaging grew in importance. However, as I've discussed previously, the bigger issue is that digital photography has vastly eroded Kodak's consumables business. You sell a camera once. You sell film and processing week in and week out.

Thus, this piece by Claudia H. Deutsch in the New York Times caught my eye. It discusses some of Kodak President and COO Philip Faraci's growth strategies.

Kodak is benefiting from the moves that some publishers are making to recoup at least some of those lost advertising dollars. He notes that the Chicago Tribune and some others are trying "microzoning"--printing several versions of the paper in the same city, each with ads aimed at a specific neighborhood. And, he said, newspapers all over are using more color.

All of that, he said, promises to yield increased sales of Kodak's high-speed production printers--particularly of the 1,600-page-per-minute printer Kodak is about to introduce. And far more important to the company, the trend can yield a steady stream of orders for inks and other highly profitable consumables.

Faraci was named president and COO last fall; he joined the company in 2004.

What's really interesting here is that Faraci was at Hewlett-Packard for 22 years where, among other roles, he was senior vice president and general manager for the Inkjet Imaging Solutions Group. This is someone who knows consumables.

Maybe Kodak is starting to find a revenue and profit replacement for film, which is what it's always really needed rather than more amorphous "digital imaging products."

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