FUJI ACCENTS THE POSITIVE:
Sitting pretty with a 22 percent year-on-year gain in interim net profit to $380 million, Fujifilm is busy analyzing its domestic digital market and introducing new products. Fuji thinks the U.S. photofinishers may be missing the print profit boat by mispricing the cost of CDs made from consumer's digital memory cards. In the U.SA., photofinishers appear to be overcharging for CDs (which out of the box actually cost only a few cents) by asking for as much as $15 apiece. Fuji says its total cost of digital prints and a CD equals the price Frontier labs charge for 35mm film processing and printing. Analyzing home-market digital camera users, Fuji finds at present that 20 percent do want prints, 40 percent don't and 40 percent haven't made up their minds. Fuji's concentrating on the latter through photofinishing enticements such as the Printpix kiosks, which deliver 4x6 prints in 90 seconds for 40-50 cents apiece. Future Frontier labs will offer automatic red-eye reduction no matter where in the picture it occurs. New products include a yet-to be-named instant printer powered by CR2 batteries, which can send 15-second infrared signals transferring images from digital phone cameras to a Polaroid-type instant printer, which then delivers images in two minutes. Concerning continued demand for film, Fuji explains that while snapshooters and sports photographers will undoubtedly go solely digital, pictorial and portrait photographers (and others addicted to film) would stay that way. What Fuji wants technically: longer lasting batteries and point-and-shoot cameras with lenses wider than 28mm.