While in the early throes of their current bankruptcy, KODAK executives announced that they would be concentrating their efforts on the nascent and as yet unprofitable printing side of the business at the expense of the consumer photography business that had been their source of brand recognition for eighty years. At the time, what I did not personally anticipate was that, rather than their crappy home printers, KODAK would focus on… newsprint.
It is genuinely hard to imagine the benefits of swapping one dying industry for another. But in a flurry of press releases, KODAK has made it clear: they believe they know something that we don’t.
On Saturday, KODAK announced their new print process, dubbed KODAK SONORA NEWS. Freaking KODAK and their ALL CAPS names, but I digress. The new print process is one the company claims to make running print presses faster, cheaper and greener. The company claims this improvement is achieved by skipping the processing step entirely, allowing publishers to go directly from the computer to the press.
On Sunday, KODAK announced still more details on their new Computer to Press (CTP) process. The KODAK Intelligent Prepress Manager (my CAPS LOCK thanks you) is designed to allow more control for printers, data-driven models and – get ready for this – mobile access. I guess so you can change fonts while you’re dining. Or something.
Finally this morning, KODAK unveiled another complimentary bit of software for their CTP system, wNewsNet. This press release seems larded with industry buzz words (funny, that) and doesn’t really describe much of what wNewsNet actually does…
Taken together, it is clear KODAK plans to push this system hard. I can imagine that this points to what is probably a much more profitable future for print media: extremely small presses, efficient and hands-off, that can print out paper copies of digital media on-the-fly. Not exactly friendly news to the giant press industry – this opens the possibilities of more City Newspapers and even smaller publishers, not more profitable D&Cs – but that’s all assuming that this whole thing doesn’t fall on its face in the first place.