Kodak: Paper the new hot consumable

Kodak has trumpeted its new high-end printer paper over recent product announcements as it sees the consumable coming of age in the digital photography market.

The camera manufacturer claims photos printed on paper with its new Colorlast Technology will not diminish for 100 years, and has priced the paper at the top end of the market ($17.95 to $24.95, depending on size).

The Colorlast improvement to Kodak's Ultima Picture Paper is recognition of a booming market - one that was worth $23 million in Australia last year.

"This is the first time we've done a major launch of a paper product," business development manager for Kodak’s imaging products, Brian Finch, said. "If you want to keep a shot and frame it, this is what you will use."

The Colorlast selling point will be backed by point-of-sale activities and included in Kodak's instore displays, such as photo albums.

The new paper would become the standard sample included with new Kodak digital cameras by about July, Finch said.

Some Kodak resellers were starting to see inkjet paper as a more lucrative consumable than ink cartridges, the traditional printer cash-cow, Kodak’s digital consumables business development manager, Karl Schuster, said.

"The margins they're getting makes it a very good business," he said. "It's the second fastest selling product for retailers behind DVDs. And in terms of volume and repeat purchases, it's better than cartridges."

The new Kodak paper sits in a market crowded with printer vendors trying to associate their printers and paper, as well as cheaper products. However, Kodak has 56 per cent market share of the inkjet paper market, according to market analysts Gfk. Also in Kodak's favour is that the Colorlast paper worked with all inkjet printers, which mean resellers didn't need to stock printer vendors' paper, Schuster said.

"Consumers are always upgrading printers and cameras and buying them for friends," he said. "So you need the consumables to support the printers and cameras [they might use]."

"When we're working with retailers we can outsell other papers by 2:1," Finch said.

The Ultima Picture Paper with Colorlast Technology is available in high gloss and satin finishes. Available sizes are 4x6 and 5x7 inch, as well as A4.

The Colorlast paper is one of a spate of Kodak announcements in the last few weeks. In April, Kodak also launched the six megapixel DX7630 camera.

The vendor this week announced the three megapixel CX7330 camera, and the latest version of its EasyShare Printer Dock, compatible with a range of vendors' cameras, will both be available in June.

Kodak currently offers the channel-wide bundle of the CX7300 camera (launched in March) and Printer Dock 6000 for $499.

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