Kodak: the resurrection of an icon

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LEXIA Insights & Solutions

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These days, when we talk about Kodak the subject is almost always how one of the most iconic brands of the 20th century did not know how to adapt to digital times, how it almost went bankrupt because it did not incorporate new digital technologies on time.  

But here’s some new information. For two years now, Kodak has been working to reverse this trend.  

Let's see why. 

Starting in 2010, the general public began to know about Kodak’s cash flow problems.  

The brand had to reestructure it’s business model, it began with the sale of it’s main intellectual property assets to companies that were born in and for the digital age, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and others whose offer was better suited to the new requirements of the public: Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Fujifilm, among others. 

By doing this, Kodak replenished it’s cash reserves, but there was still the task of designing and implementing a new strategy, one based on the diversification of its business lines and the exploitation of the brand value in the segment where Kodak is, even today, a global benchmark: the making, reproduction and management of still and moving pictures. 

To initiate this resurrection, the first steps have been. 

  • The launch of end-user electronic devices such as Kodak Ektra in 2015, the revamped version of Super 8 Camera, portable digital printing devices and the development of 360 image capture devices as well as 3D printing devices.  
  • The development of digital services platforms for image management.  

And that's where his most recent and ambitious project is focused: the KODAKOne platform, which was presented at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

It should be noted that, in both cases, Kodak, true to its strategy, does what we all know it can do best: support the user throughout the life cycle of an image by offering, with KODAKOne, a service platform that provides physical and virtual support to manage the property rights of audiovisual content. 

The main objective of KODAKOne is to make its platform part of the image management chain and to function as THE tool that guarantees the recognition of usage and exploitation rights to all parties involved: authors, managers and consumers. 

With KODAKOne, Kodak becomes a crucial part of solving one of the most serious problems caused by the digital revolution. Whose images are they and how can I ensure their fair and remunerative use? 

KODAKOne's innovations include the use of blockchain (data block chain) technology for content authentication and recognition, as well as the development, through the launch of an ICO (Initial Coin Offering), of a crypto currency called KODAKCoin, which will be used to perform value transactions between the parties involved.  

According to KODAKOne developers, the goal is being met, as during beta testing of the platform, which was released in January 2019, they raised $1 million in content license claims. 

In fact, when the launch of KODAKOne was announced in January 2018, the company's shares increased in value by 44%. 

The resurrection had begun.  

The management and control of digital content rights is, even today, an unresolved issue in the digital era. So any effort aimed to solving this problem will attract a lot of attention, even more so if it comes from a company recognized for it’s experience in the field.  

  •  It was the right moment for the development of projects based on bitcoins and blockchain, due to the increase in the value of crypto currencies.  
  • The management and control of digital content rights is, even today, an unresolved chapter in the digital society. So any initiative that seeks to solve this problem will generate a lot of attention and more if it comes from a company with worldwide recognition for its experience in the field.  
  • KODAKOne offers an innovative approach using the latest technology and resources. 

Risks:  

  • Several experts and organizations believe that crypto currencies will be the raw material for the next bubble crisis within the digital sector.  
  • The model proposed by KODAKOne can be replicated and improved by other companies, especially those already positioned in the digital environment.  
  • There is still doubt about Kodak's ability to access image management and commercialization channels and attract different ecosystem actors. 

What lessons does Kodak's case give us:  

  • Capitalizing on brand values: Kodak acted quickly not to lose its position as a global benchmark in the category of image production and management, sacrificing assets to raise capital and using it to launch projects that had to do with its category, but incorporated new technologies and solved a current need. 
  • Kodak migrated from a model based on the production of physical consumer goods (cameras, rolls, developing) to one of offering services, in the category where it is strong and recognized, covering the need of all players in the value chain (those who use images and those who generate them). 

Sources:

Burns, Matt. Kodak announces ICO, stock jumps 44%. Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/09/kodakannounces-ico-stock-jumps-44/  

Kodak. KODAKOne platform & KODAKCoin cryptocurrency Helping photographers protect their creative endeavors. Available at: https://www.kodak.com/kodakone/default.htm  

Markovich, Sariv. Commentary: Kodak's New Cryptocurrency: Ridiculous or Genius? Fortune. Available at: http://fortune.com/2018/01/12/kodakcryptocurrency-kodakcoin/  

Pastor, J. What is blockchain: the definitive explanation for the most fashionable technology. Available at: https://www.xataka.com/especiales/que-es-blockchainla-explicacion-definitiva-para-la-tecnologia-mas-de-moda  

The Economist. Bitcoin is no longer the only game in cryptocurrency town. Available at: https://www.economist.com/news/finance-andeconomics/21734462-which-could-be-next-digital-coinrule-them-all-bitcoin-no-longer 

Huillet, Marie. KODAKOne Blockchain Beta Trial sees $1 million in content license claims. Available at: https://es.cointelegraph.com/news/kodakone-blockchain-beta-test-sees-1-mln-in-content-licensing-claims 

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