What Kodak’s Dying Business Means For Your Old School Cameras


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This is not a Kodak moment.News that the 131-year-old company may seek bankruptcy protection in the next two weeks didn’t come as a surprise, but it was hard to tell whether consumers actually cared.

Many expressed their sadness on Twitter—”Sad to see Kodak go bankrupt. And we all thought Instagram was this harmless little app,” tweeted @levie—but not one of them mentioned plans to purchase a Playsport video camera or any of the other consumer products Kodak had rolled out to revive its flagging brand.

The saddest thing about Kodak is that the company killed itself, said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, a brand and customer research consultancy.

“Part of it is an issue of modernization, and what Kodak stood for is film, he said. “They didn’t stand for imaging—and though it’s stuff that they created, and you’ve got to give them credit—it’s the category that did them in. 

“Other manufacturers came in with products that had what consumers wanted with the kinds of features that meet consumer’s expectations regarding what they’re looking for,” he continued. “So it’s not an issue of no one knowing the brand, it’s just become an old brand where the products are just fine, but not at the top of anyone’s list.”

And now that Kodak’s might go bust, consumers will likely have even less to do with it. No matter how hard the media tries to push the novelty of Brownie cameras, the film era came and went, taking it with consumer’s desire to wind up a spool of film.

“Kodak novelties could become more common, but where would you get the film?” Passikoff said.

He does expect the one-time film giant’s digital cameras to come down in price as the company works to offload inventory. Already, we’re seeing huge markdowns on the Easyshare Max (down $70 from $$299) and Playsport Video cameras (now $149.95 from $$179.95).

And as with Polaroid, another camera giant that lost its crown, Passikoff expects a handful of companies to swoop in and try to wring a few dollars by rehashing Kodak’s old products. But don’t call it a comeback, said Passikoff: “[Kodak] is losing the battle for the film business in a digital era when other companies are out there supplying what people really want.”

If your Kodak Brownies are gathering dust in the attic, now’s a good time to trade them in. Check with your local camera resale shop to see if they buy back Kodak products, and if that doesn’t pan out, try Kodak’s Trade-In-Recycling Program. Despite the looming bankruptcy, the company isn’t closing anytime soon, said Richard Walker, a Kodak spokesperson.

To trade-in your cameras with the service, submit your items via the online form or by mail. Depending on what you submit, you’ll either receive cash back or a form telling you where to recycle your item. Shipping to the trade centre is free, and for what it’s worth, you’ll get a 15 per cent discount on Kodak products.

If you use Kodak’s photo share site, Kodakgallery.com, we recommend taking your data off there soon. A USB port should do the trick.

Did you receive a Kodak gift for the holidays? Tell us what you’re planning to do with it in the comments.

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