Kodak Pins Growth On New Categories

By Greg Scoblete On Sep 4 2008 - 6:00am

With the July launch of a pocket camcorder and media player, Kodak is attempting to cash in on what it sees as the explosive growth of the "post-capture" market.

"We're looking for ways to extend the brand into new digital categories for our growth," said Phil Scott, marketing director.

The company's push for new categories is not a sign that it believes the opportunities in digital capture are drying up, Scott added. "We think the post-capture side is just exploding at this point."

One example is the YouTube-fueled demand for personal video. "We see video as being a very big opportunity," Scott said.

Yet it is also a challenge. Kodak's new Zi6 pocket camcorder wades in against a powerful incumbent in Pure Digital's Flip , which pushed aside brands such as Sony and Canon to claim the top of the camcorder market in unit sales in June, according to The NPD Group.

Unlike the Flip, the Zi6 records in high definition and is targeted at Kodak's traditional demographic of parents, especially mothers.

"Teenagers view video as a consumable, not a memory," said Andrei Andrievsky, Product Marketing Manager. The Zi6 will thread the needle between being a PC-centric device, like the Flip, and a TV-centric device, like a traditional camcorder, he added.

Unlike for digital stills, where Kodak has built a business around its online EasyShare Gallery, the company has no plans to compete with YouTube for online video sharing. "The video back end is a tremendous investment so we'll let other people do that," said Andrievsky. "Going forward, we're looking at opportunities here, but in 2009, we're looking at established players like YouTube and some HD video sites."

The company is also hoping to break into the media player market, with trials of its HD Home Theater this month at Best Buy, a frequent launch pad for new Kodak products.

"We know we're competing in a larger category and so we need to partner with a retailer who can tell our story," said Steve Jean, product marketing manager. "We are at the start of the learning curve."

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