Kodak Focuses on Digital Business

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-03-19

With earnings under pressure, Eastman Kodak is launching a major marketing campaign to try to remind the business world that the company has gone digital.

This week, Kodak will run print ads in the Financial Times, Forbes, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as television spots in Boston, Manhattan and other areas, to tout a new service category: infoimaging.

Infoimaging, a term Kodak coined, emerged from the convergence of three categories: devices, infrastructure, and services and media, company officials said. With its own arsenal of digital cameras, imaging networks and online photo services, Kodak said it is well-positioned to compete with other imaging companies, such as Sony, and with technology companies expanding into imaging, such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

Andrew Johnson, vice president at Gartner Group Dataquest, said that while Kodak may be redefining its competition, "theyre going to be the new guy on the block in some of these segments."

A survey conducted for Kodak by Roper Starch Worldwide that asked executives which company has what it takes to be a major player in the digital imaging market found that 84 percent ranked Sony first. Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft placed second and third, while Kodak was ranked fourth. Kodak spokesman Gerard Meuchner said that no player has a market share greater than 6 percent or 7 percent, and the pie is worth $225 billion.

Many people think of photos as images that consumers take and print, Kodak spokesman Anthony Sanzio said, but now his company wants Wall Street, analysts and consumers to know that Kodak offers much more. Infoimaging "gives a framework of how to characterize Kodak," Sanzio said.

Kodak estimated that 45 percent of its revenue will come from digital imaging by 2005. Last week, the company announced infoimaging-based agreements with Homestore.com and Lockheed Martin.

The company is under increasing bottom-line pressure. Kodaks fourth-quarter net earnings totaled $194 million, down from $475 million for the same period last year.

Chris Chute, who analyzes digital imaging at International Data Corp., said the new campaign "is an articulation of the strategy [Kodak] hasnt been able to define over the past couple years."

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