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back to article Stay away from the light, Kodak! Look, here's $406m to keep you alive

Eastman Kodak's creditors have backed its plan to sell 34 million shares worth $406m as it prepares to exit bankruptcy protection. Key creditors of the fallen tech giant have agreed to backstop the rights offering, which means they will pick up any stock that Kodak doesn't manage to flog to investors. The firm said that the new …

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jai
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vote of confidence in both ... reorganisation and in ... our restructuring

So they've reorganised, restructured, and with this they'll presumably pay off a lot of debt.

But have they announced what their new products are going to be?

Nothing's changed, because people still aren't buying old fashioned film, or getting holiday snaps printed developed. They're far from being a presence in the digital market.

I don't see why people will want to buy the stock when they offer it.

Yes, they'll no longer be bankrupt. But how are they going to make enough money in order to stay that way?

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Re: vote of confidence in both ... reorganisation and in ... our restructuring

"people still aren't buying old fashioned film"

Oh yes they are, and Fuji and Ilford are still churning it out. Kodak have lost a *lot* of friends by discontinuing some their finest films

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Coat

Re: vote of confidence in both ... reorganisation and in ... our restructuring

I think I'll sit this one out and see how things develop...

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Re: vote of confidence in both ... reorganisation and in ... our restructuring

Well, some people are. Film sales have been declining at more than 25%pa for more than the last 10 years. They're at near 1% of what they were at their peak.

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"Kodak is hoping to leave Chapter 11 bankruptcy...in the third quarter of this year."

And then do what. They got caught flat footed by changes in technology and paid the price. I really can't image what they plan to do to become relevant again.

But, alas, I am but a cubical drone so maybe they have someone with some brilliant plan, but I don't think I would be in buy mode for this stock right now.

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Headmaster

"But, alas, I am but a cubical drone"

Make sure you don't bash your corners in then...

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Actually, their R&D were pretty ahead of their time in digital, pity the management weren't.

100% actuate wiki quote: Although Kodak developed a digital camera in 1975, the first of its kind, the product was dropped for fear it would threaten Kodak's photographic film business

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WTF?

The people that made that decision are so so very stupid. Did they really think no one else would develop a digital camera? That only they were capable? If your business model is going to be threatened, better it be by yourself than a competitor!

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FAIL

Yes they are that stupid

Several years ago I developed a piece of electronic equipment which sold very well as it had no immediate competitors. Over time I put forward plans to improve and upgrade it, reduce manufacturing costs, bring it into line with latest Military standards, and produce a range of units on the same basic design. It would have cost less than 1% of the profits made from that unit, but management said no as it was selling well.

Fast forward two years. There are now several competing units on offer which cost less and are built to the latest Military standards. Our sales have fallen to virtually zero. Management response was to send out several memos requesting ideas as to why this unit is no longer selling and what can be done to regain the lost market.

I resigned

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Unhappy

Sharper focus

Yep. Read the article in The Economist that digs into the reasons for Kodak's woes and Fujifilm's revitalisation.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2012/01/how-fujifilm-survived

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Ah, so it was YOUR fault!

I used to work for a company that was burdened with similar management genius.

All problems arising from poor management were invariably the fault of the last engineer that had resigned. The one possible exception was the new hire who resigned after three hours (which I am fairly sure was our staff turnover record, and quite possibly the smartest person ever hired).

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Pirate

I'm reminded of the South Park episode where one of the kid's fathers buys a Blockbuster video store for $10,000 using the family's savings: http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s16e12-a-nightmare-on-face-time

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Boffin

Film Isn't Dead

I can't speak to the future of Kodak. It's clear they've made some poor decisions, and their future remains a giant question mark. But as the assertion that "people still aren't buying old fashioned film... well, that just ain't so. I shoot both digital and film, and I've got a freezer full of film. I typically shoot a roll or two a week. Fuji, Ilford and some lesser known names are still pumping out film in a variety of formats. A company in Europe just recently released a brand new b&w emulsion.

Just because it's a niche doesn't mean the craft of analog photography is dead. Take a look at Flickr and you'll notice dozen of groups specifically dedicated to shooting all manner of film and film cameras. Several of these groups are extremely active. There's also an active web forum called APUG (Analog Photographers User Group), which generates at least 1500+ posts over a typical weekend. Then you have Lomography selling their (admittedly plasticy) cameras online and in various brick and mortar locations around the world. On top of that, in the last couple of years 110 film has gone back into production after being abandoned by the major film companies. And the Impossible Project has similarly taken up the instant film market for Polaroid cameras.

There's a lot going on in film today!

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Re: Film Isn't Dead

But it is niche!

How big are the markets for floppy disks and new pressings of vinyl?

The large markets for film are gone.

Consumers do not want it, and professional photographers and cinematographers barely use it anymore.

Only enthusiasts and artists (arguably a subset of the former) want it now.

That kind of market simply cannot support a large enterprise. It can only support a small number of small businesses.

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Re: Film Isn't Dead

Also, don't forget cinemas too.

Whilst there is more and more digital projection, there are still a very large number of theatres out there that only have equipment to project standard 35mm print.

At 90ft per minute a two hour feature print in 35mm is about 2 miles long. That's a lot of stock for all those prints.

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Re: Film Isn't Dead

Isn't that what Kodak's Ch11 is all about though, restructuring themselves as a small, niche, business?

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FAIL

Re: Film Isn't Dead

A small, niche, half a billion dollar business? The means they expect to make somewhere around $50 million in PROFIT a year. From selling a niche product to enthusiasts? Give me a break!

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it's dead Jim

Some of my cubicle-mates are still using film, as a sort of whimsy as far as I can tell. Reminds me of when I was a kid I knew people who were sticking with 78s none of this vinyl stereo crap thank you.

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Happy

Re: it's dead Jim

For some people, using film is whimsy. But there's some serious photography being done by talented people on medium and large format, in particular. Just search Flickr or Google+ for "medium format" and take a look at some of the work you find there. I don't see how anyone could look at the serious photography still shot on film in 2013, and pronounce it dead. A lot of younger people are rediscovering film and some will shoot with nothing else!

Sure there are the hipsters who buy a plastic Holga, shoot a roll and then move on to something more interesting and trendy. (There's nothing wrong with shooting Holgas, mind you - I still use mine.) On the other hand, the cost of quality, vintage camera gear keeps climbing. There's clearly a demand for it. I've been back to film for around 3-4 years now, and have no intention of quitting. As long as there's a sufficient market, film will be the preferred medium of a sizable niche market.

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Boffin

Film is still viable. Call me when digital cameras reach 200 to 300 Megapixels. With higher dynamic range as well. Yeah, I can match film with multiple exposure digital shots. As long as the subject holds still long enough.

Kodak and Polaroid just didn't have a management strategy in place to handle the contracting amateur market. Fuji and Ilford are doing OK. In fact Fuji makes a line of instant film and cameras.

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Blimey, what combination of format, emulsion, film speed and lens are you using to get the equivalent of 300 megapixels?

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You what?

Unless you're shooting large format, you're talking utter rubbish!

Film has a grain size, you can see the actual 'pixels' with a hand lens. They aren't square, but they are there.

Even medium-format is only about 50MPixels.

35mm is 4 to 16MPixels depending on the emulsion (faster = lower resolution)

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Re: You what?

The potential resolution really depends on the capabilities of the scanning device. A drum scanner can eke out tremendous amount of data from a 35mm or medium format negative, even though typical consumer scanners don't come close. And while not exactly square, tabular grain films like T-Max are rectangular.

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Headmaster

It's all about the numbers

Speaking as someone close to ground zero, so to speak, I can say that the question was never about what Kodak could do instead of making and selling film. Kodak can and has done many things, some very well (though they tended to sell those bits off). The problem has been replacing tens of billions of dollars of film business (at 50% gross profit margin) with something else. All the digital waffle has tended to ignore the fact that the company would be going up against established rivals like HP and Canon that were several times larger even when Kodak was doing nearly $20 bn a year. Now that it is a comparative minnow you have to wonder why they would bother competing at all in the digital market. Their very good technology in the area of sensors etc. can't support even a medium sized company. They may or may not still have the horrendous horde of bungling middle managers who did so much for them in the past.

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Boffin

Kodak is not film anymore

All of these comments about film miss the point. Kodak doesn't do much film anymore, certainly not consumer film. They have sold most of those divisions (or given them away to creditors).

All that's left of Kodak is the commercial print business (digital printers, prepress platesetters, printing plates, and the associated workflow).

This is not your grandfather's or your father's Kodak. This is not your Kodak of 10 years ago.

We'll see if they can manage this business well, or it will suffer the same fate as their film business.

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Anonymous Coward

Kodachrome

Kodachrome, I mean that's pretty much it, fantastic film, not to mention the whole legacy of Kodak film. That shouldn't be lost. I do hope they pull through.

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Re: Kodachrome

kodachrome was killed off a couple years ago, I thought? the processing was very expensive and toxic

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Re: Kodachrome

Kodachrome is very, very dead. Kodak got out of processing it a decade ago, leaving one processor in Kansas who bought their plant. they drained the tanks two years ago and scrapped the machine.

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Kodak's Future

After working at Kodak in Rochester NY for 25 years in IT, I can say that I had a insight into most of the departments of this once great company. Does anybody remember that they were the only one to grind a perfect mirror for the Hubble telescope? The only reason their's wasn't on the finished product was they insisted that a test jig be built to test the accuracy of the mirror while it was being ground. This put the cost of the mirror above their competitors. Also Kodak at one time had the leading technical and scientific employees in the black magic science of coating. This was all lost when film and paper production was shut down. It was a shame that this knowledge could not be applied to other forms of coatings; surface mount electronics, photo-voltaic cells, etc. I could go on for hours. The sad part of the situation was everybody heard the foot steps except upper management. They were too afraid of killing the cash cow. I rest my case.

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Re: Hubble telescope

You've got some bad data in there somewhere. The mirrors for the Hubble were tested with jigs before launch. Problem was, they built the test jig wrong.

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