The new owner of Kodaku2019s photographic paper business is on a mission to double the number of images printed, by making it easier for consumers to print their smartphone photos.

As part of the project, the company is set to launch a smartphone app designed to allow consumers to order prints directly from their mobile phone, for collection, without them having to be at a Kodak printing kiosk at the time.

The new service is due to be launched in January by Kodak Alaris, the firm set up after UK Kodak Pension Plan acquired the Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses from US-based Eastman Kodak in September.

Kodak Alaris’s European general manager for Personalized Imaging, Lee Palmer, explained that a printing service is already available for Facebook and Instagram users – the latter delivering ‘square-format’ prints. But consumers have to visit a high-street Kodak photo kiosk to order them.

‘2%’ of images printed

Speaking at a briefing in central London today, Palmer said that ‘print conversion’ is falling and currently stands at 2%, according to figures for Western Europe supplied by research firm Futuresource Consulting.

He insisted it will be possible to double the conversion rate to 4%.

‘I think it is realistic,’ he told AP.

‘At 4%, industry print projections move from decline to growth.’

Palmer added: ‘There’s going to be a whole generation who never buy a camera…. Smartphones – that’s where the mass consumer is at.’

The company also plans to extend the mobile printing service to tablet computers.

Kodak paper is made in Harrow UK, while Kodak-branded film is supplied to Kodak Alaris under contract by Eastman Kodak in Rochester, USA.

Kodak Alaris reports that sales of its professional film have increased by 15% this year, though overall sales, including consumer film, are down 30%.

A source close to Kodak Alaris told AP that the businesses are able to make plans a reality more quickly after the film and paper divisions spilt away from Eastman Kodak as part of its exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

  • Kodak User

    I am not sure they will be able to see 4% from prints due to an app. The problem I see here is that when smartphone users share images on the web, it is instantly they get to do that and there is an emotional thrust behind that decision that is instantly satisfied with an outpouring of likes or commentary.

    If there were a small printer at home that they could simply use via Bluetooth or the phone’s interface table, that might improve the chances of a print being made, but we all know what a pain consumer printers can be, a solid decade of hair pulling in using those things has really made it easy for consumers to pass on them.

    For what it is worth, I use Kodak films professionally and print in a real darkroom, I sure hope they continue to move towards a more long term and sustainable business model.