By Quentin Fottrell
Kodak’s woes may have one upside, analysts say: discounts on new digital cameras in the coming months.
As the company reportedly edges closer to filing for bankruptcy protection, it’s unclear what’s in store for the famed photographic giant. But Kodak’s low-end cameras are likely to come down in price, according to Robert Passikoff, founder of management consultancy Brand Keys. He says simple digital cameras for novices and younger people may find their way to the bottom of the bargain bin: “The company already appears to be offloading inventory.” (A Kodak spokesman says: “We don’t comment on markets rumors and speculation.”)
Already, there are steep discounts on new Kodaks. It’s currently selling the $140 Kodak Easyshare Touch M577 for half price and cutting 17% off the $180 Kodak Playsport Video Camera – though they are still more expensive than the discontinued Flip video camera, which are selling for as little $85 online. “To squander that much consumer love and retailer support required years of well-orchestrated brand negligence,” says Adam Hanft, CEO of marketing and branding firm Hanft Projects.
As for older Kodak gear, experts say such collectibiles will not increase in value if the company goes bust. Old Polaroids were popular in the art scene in the early 1980s, says Chris Byrne, content director of TimeToPlayMag.com, but Kodaks are unlikely to be invited to the party. “The Kodak Instamatic X15 is selling online for $7.95, which is less than what I paid for it out of my allowance money,” he says. “I won’t be running out to buy it to recapture my childhood. The camera I have on my phone is better than any camera I had as a kid.”
That said, Kodak still has a strong and beloved brand name and that iconic red-and-yellow film packaging, experts say. “There will always be collectors,” says Rick Singer, CEO of GreatApps.com, “and they’re going to want to collect a Kodak rather than Canon or Minolta.” The most avid camera aficionados will want film-based cameras, Byrne says. “They like to display them like you would silver spoons from Niagara Falls,” he says. “People collect things because they are a touchstone to a different time.”