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CVS First National Chain to Offer Camera Phone Printing

4/29/2004 11:14:00 AM Eastern

Woonsocket, R.I. — Casting a wider net for digital printing revenue, pharmacy chain CVS announced today that all its locations with one-hour film processing, some 3,200 stores, can now make prints from camera-equipped cellphones.

CVS is the first national retail chain to offer camera phone printing and is using Kodak’s Picture Maker digital station, a countertop kiosk that routes print orders to a printer behind the counter. According to a company spokesman, the chain will advertise the new photo service primarily through its circulars.

The Picture Maker digital station kiosks can accept digital photos wirelessly from any camera phone equipped with infrared or Bluetooth. CVS will charge 29 cents per print, the same price it charges for traditional analog and digital camera prints.

"Offering prints from camera phones is the logical next step for CVS in our efforts to capture digital-photo customers," said Grant Pill, category manager of photo processing, CVS.

"Today, 13 percent of our digital-photo customers are new to CVS, and we hope to see the same incremental trend as printing from camera phones increases," Pill said.

Camera phone sales in America are expected to reach 21.3 million by year’s end. According to CVS, in Japan, where camera phone ownership and usage is already several years old, customers print 10 percent of their camera phone images.

While camera phone photos are typically not afforded the same pride of place as photos taken with standard film/digital cameras, Pill noted that any increase in overall picture volume will redound to the industry’s benefit.

"More images captured leads directly to more image printing," Pill said.