Kodak Ditches Traditional Camera Business

15 January 2004

Eastman Kodak is abandoning its traditional camera business in more developed countries to focus on digital technology.

By the end of the year, the world's biggest manufacturer of photographic film will stop selling reloadable 35mm cameras in the US, Canada and Western Europe. It will also halt production of its advanced photo system (APS) cameras around the world.

Kodak last year made a belated entrance into the digital market, having previously done its best to ignore the emerging sector [WAMN: 29-Sep-03]. It plans to invest $3 billion (€2.4bn; £1.6bn) in the switch, despite scepticism from analysts that it can catch up with the established players.

Although the photography giant is giving up on traditional cameras in these nations, it will continue to make 35mm and APS film. "Selling APS film and photofinishing remains a very attractive business for retailers," said senior vp Bernard Masson. "In addition, consumers who use APS film are highly loyal to the format."

However, it is a different story in the developing world, where Kodak plans to expand its 35mm camera and film business. The traditional photography industry has been expanding rapidly in emerging markets, where digital technology remains too expensive for most consumers.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff