Back when I worked at Kodak, I got involved with the ill-fated Photo CD project. If you don’t remember it, basically the idea was to digitize your photos from film to CD-ROM, all for a reasonable $20 per roll (I think processing was extra but not sure). The customer received their prints and negatives like before but also a shiny (real) gold CD with the same images on them in glorious hi-res.
The leaders of the company at the time heralded this as a “hybrid strategy” leveraging both film and digital. We did a bunch of other similarly ill-fated ventures in this same vein (anyone remember the “locket project” a.k.a. Kodak Picture Exchange? How about Kodak Shoebox?). The idea was to extend the ridiculously high margin film business and it didn’t work out so well for most of us in the trenches.
But I was reminded of this strategy when I visited my local Target store today to print out a digital photo. I took my SD card and put it into a touch screen kiosk and ordered a print. Twenty minutes later a print emerged that I paid 23 cents for. Digital meets silver halide; how great is that?
The hybrid imaging strategy lives on…