EASTMAN KODAK IN THE PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM INDUSTRY: PICTURE IMPERFECT?
Eastman Kodak, or the "Big Yellow Father," is a giant in the photographic film industry. A recent survey by Total Research Corporation found that Kodak was number 1 in its overall brand quality survey, beating icons like Disney and Mercedes-Benz, proving that consumers believe strongly in Kodak quality. However, the history of Kodak in the U.S. photographic film industry has not always been one of unparalleled success. Kodak has gone from being a near monopoly in film (and other related markets of photofinishing and cameras) until around 1978, to being besieged on various fronts by the late 1980s, and in the 1990s it seems to be undergoing serious corporate plastic surgery. How did Kodak achieve dominance in film and related industries? How did it lose this dominance? Or did it lose it at all? Is there a comeback story waiting to be told?
Any analysis of Kodak has to begin with the analysis of the amateur photography industry. This industry is one with many component industries within it. For example, the industry encompasses the cameras, film, print paper, developing chemicals, and developing machinery industries, among others. As Brock ( 1981) argues, the economic and technical dependencies in this industry make the functional location of the film industry very critical. "Functionally viewed, . . . film is at the heart of the industry. For in traveling through a sequence