US camera store growth “restricted”

ibisworld retailer

ibisworld retailer

Shifts toward new technologies and large-scale retailers will restrict growth in U.S.-based photography stores, according to analysts at IBISWorld. “Intensified competition from online retailers and consumer electronic stores reduced the number of consumers that purchase items from camera stores, forcing several companies to exit the industry.”

Revenue is forecast to decline at an average rate of 2.1% per year, the research firm adds, and the industry is projected to “contract further in the five years to 2019, as product substitution and external competition cut into industry revenue.”

Per-capita camera consumption “has declined during the period as consumers increasingly opt to take pictures with smartphones,” Los Angeles-based IBISWorld adds, citing other factors such as e-tailers undercutting industry prices, and large stores such as Best Buy or Wal-mart being more convenient for consumers.

“To remain competitive amid heavy competition, industry operators will likely specialize in niche products with a heavy emphasis on customer service and technical expertise,” the firm concludes.

The newly updated report is here.


Kodak and Shutterfly resolve lawsuit

shutterfly logo

shutterfly logoShutterfly and Kodak “are walking away from a legal battle that erupted after Shutterfly purchased Kodak’s online photo service,” Bloomberg News reports.

While Kodak was in bankruptcy, Shutterfly purchased the Kodak Gallery online imaging site for $23.8 million. Later, Kodak launched the new My Kodak Moments social-networking application — and Shutterfly sued, claiming it violated the no-compete clause.

The companies have “consensually resolved” the lawsuit, according to court papers filed last Friday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, Bloomberg adds.

The full story is here.


Ilford Galerie and its photo papers in new deal

ilford logo

ilford logoIs a dead brand being revived? ProCounter reports Australia’s CR Kennedy & Company  and Japan’s Chugai Ltd are negotiating to purchase the Ilford Galerie brand and its lines of inkjet and fine art paper from the administrator of Ilford Imaging Switzerland.

ProCounter is an Australian online publication for professional photographers.

The full story is here.


Former Sony VP Mike Kahn brings new “gig” to The Big Photo Show

Mike Kahn new

Mike Kahn newYou probably saw our recent announcement that Entertainment Radio News will once again be broadcasting live from The Big Photo Show, and we are very excited to welcome them back. ERN will broadcast their nationally syndicated and internet radio programs including Popular Technology Radio, Working Mother Radio, and Popular Science Radio from the show. You also might have noticed, when reading that announcement, a name very familiar to many in our industry among the show hosts: Mike Kahn.

Yes, it’s that Mike Kahn, our good friend and former Vice President of Partnership Marketing at Sony Electronics. Mike recently became host of  Popular Technology Radio, in which, along with Pop Tech’s impressive array of regular contributors and guests, he covers all the latest news, products and gossip concerning the wide field of consumer technology and entertainment.

Popular Technology Radio broadcasts via syndicated radio every Saturday from 9:00-11:00 AM PT on 41 stations nationwide in markets including; Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, Seattle, Orlando, St. Louis, Nashville, Grand Rapids, Memphis and Jacksonville.

Mike has also shaken up the consumer technology world with the advent of the Pop Tech Testers program which allows consumers to try out the latest and greatest technology first-hand. Testers are given the opportunity to provide real, relevant feedback live on Popular Technology Radio.

Kahn commented, “I am thrilled to be hosting Popular Technology Radio for ERN. My mission: share new technology that makes our lives better, easier and most importantly, fun.”

He will be doing just that at The Big Photo Show in Los Angeles on May 17. Be sure to listen in!

Case against Yelp heads to Virginia Supreme Court


yelp_logoIf you’ve ever been bitten by a bad, anonymous review on Yelp, you’re not alone. One of several cases claiming unfairness, fraud and extortion against the online review site is now heading to the Virginia Supreme Court. The Wall Street Journal reports many business owners are rooting for Joe Hadeed, who filed this suit against Yelp. Hadeed, owner of a small, suburban carpet cleaner, claims a string of harsh reviews on Yelp suddenly replaced favorable ones, “as if someone had flipped a switch,” causing his business to decline 30 percent and leading to a layoff of 80 employees. reports the US Federal Trade Commission has received more than 2,046 complaints filed about Yelp from 2008 through March 4. Most of the complaints are from small businesses that claim to have received unfair or fraudulent reviews, often after turning down a pitch to advertise on the site. For instance, a business owner in Montclair, N.J., whose name was redacted said: “I was contacted by a Yelp salesperson to advertise, which I declined, and since have only had negative posts on their site.”

Yelp spokeswoman Kristen Whisenand said, “Our recommendation software doesn’t punish people who don’t advertise. There has never been any amount of money you can pay Yelp to manipulate reviews.

Hadeed says at least seven of the bad reviews about his business are fraudulent—possibly posted by competitors—because he was unable to match them to actual customers, based on time, location and sales data. Hadeed sued the seven reviewers for defamation, and demanded that Yelp turn over their true identities. So far, both the Alexandria Circuit Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals have sided with  Hadeed, holding Yelp in contempt for not turning over the name, reports.

On the Yelp blog, the company fires back, saying:

In this case, the owner of a Virginia carpet cleaning business argued that because he could not find in his customer database the screen names of some Yelp reviewers, their critical comments might be from a competitor rather than customers – ignoring the fact that these reviewers might have used pseudonyms to avoid the justifiable fear of retribution from the business. The owner did not dispute the underlying validity of the comments (shared by other reviewers), nor did he submit evidence to support his theories. Yet, without requiring any actual evidence that wrongdoing had occurred – or even any evidence that the reviews themselves were untrue – the Virginia appellate court ordered Yelp to disclose the identities of the reviewers.

This ruling would allow a business owner in Virginia to obtain identifying information – such as birthdates, email addresses and IP addresses – of individuals that wrote reviews about that business based not on evidence, but only on the speculation of the business owner that maybe these individuals were not customers, but unidentified competitors.

This decision fails to protect the First Amendment rights of Virginia consumers who are turning to sites like Yelp to share their experiences with local businesses. Protecting consumer free speech is paramount at Yelp, which is why we worked with Public Citizen to defend the identities of the reviewers in this case. The Washington Post and Gannett Co. joined our efforts to further protect free speech, as part of a supportive brief submitted by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. While the Virginia ruling is unfortunate, we plan to appeal and we’re optimistic about the future for protecting free speech online.

PMDA elects Dan Unger as president


Dan-Unger-March-2014-large PMDA-Logo-New-vert-largeOur friend Dan Unger has an impressive new achievement on his resume — he is now president of the PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA).

In taking the reins of PMDA, Dan, the corporate communications manager at Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co., will continue PMDA’s mission to promote and advance imaging while working with member organizations to help chart the industry’s future.

Having served on the PMDA board of directors since 1993, Unger succeeds another good friend of ours, Mike Kahn of Sony, who will remain an active member of the PMDA board. In addition, Neal Manowitz, a director of product marketing at Sony, will join the PMDA board.

Walk off the war: Fujifilm sponsors veterans organization

warrior walk fuji

warrior walk fuji

The U.S. division of Fujifilm is sponsoring Warrior Hike, a non-profit organization supporting combat veterans transitioning from their military service by hiking America’s National Scenic Trails.

Warrior Hike has partnered with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and more recently with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association to expand the “Walk Off The War” Program. During the 6-month 2,000-plus mile journey along a National Scenic Trail, veterans have the opportunity to decompress from their military service and come to terms with their wartime experiences while learning to use the outdoors as an alternative form of therapy.

As part of its sponsorship, Fujifilm has donated several FinePix XP-Series rugged, waterproof cameras “so that as the veterans embark on their journeys through the “Walk Off The War” program, they are able to capture the scenery and memories as they experience them.,” the company says. “We hope the veterans will find solace in the images and movies they capture along the trails and help them as they transition back into civilian life.”

In addition, Fujifilm will be supporting the Warrior Hike by matching their employee donations through their Corporate Giving program.

Fujifilm Holdings America Corporation is the Regional Headquarters for all the Americas, comprised of subsidiary companies in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.

Canon USA names new CEO, opens new service center

Canon logo

Yoruku Adachi steps up as the new chairman of Canon U.S.A. Adachi has been President and CEO since 2005; he will remain CEO. He joined Canon in Japan in 1970.

Yuichi Ishizuka is now president and COO. Ishizuka will continue his current responsibilities as executive vice president and general manager for the Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, where he oversees the camera, video and inkjet printer groups. Ishizuka joined Canon in Japan in 1981, where he worked in the camera division.

canon CPS

Also: In the US, Canon opened a new service and support center in Itasca, Illinois — just outside of Chicago.

The facility “will provide comprehensive product repair and maintenance of Canon’s professional products to Cinema, Platinum, and Gold level members of Canon’s Professional Services (CPS) program, and owners of Canon professional broadcast lenses,” the company says. Canon adds that it wants to provide support “where our professional photography, cinema, broadcast and television production customers work, so that we can return their products to the original factory condition and operation as quickly as possible.”

Canon says the Itasca facility is its third service facility exclusively available to professional clients, joining the Hollywood Professional Technology & Support Center and the New York/New Jersey service and support center.


Nikon Research CEO retires, new president appointed


Nikon says the CEO and president of its Nikon Research Corporation of American subsidiary has retired.

Tom Novak is succeeded by Dr. Donis Flagello, who assumed the role of NRCA President, CEO and COO effective April 1, 2014.

Novak worked at Nikon since 1992. Flagello has served as an NRCA Fellow for the past five years, and has more than 30 years experience in the semiconductor industry, Nikon says.

NRCA provides research and development in the United States for Nikon’s worldwide product portfolio.


IPI changes leadership

ipi logo

ipi logoThe Independent Photo Imagers trade group has a new leader: the IPI Board of Directors named Ron Mohney as Executive Director.

Mohney served as director of supplying partner operations at IPI since 2010.

Former director Brent Bowyer has resigned to pursue other opportunities, the announcement says. Chairman Larry Steiner says the Board “wishes to thank Brent for his many years of dedicated service, and we wish him well in his new pursuits.”

Henderson, Nevada-based  IPI says it has 600 members and more than 800 storefront locations in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom.