Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.

Started Mar 31, 2014 | Discussions thread
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GeraldW OP
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Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to meland, Mar 31, 2014

meland wrote:

GeraldW wrote:

As has been pointed out in several other posts on this forum, all of the camera companies, except Nikon, get the majority of their income and profits from something other than cameras. Nikon is 74% camera derived, Canon 26%, Olympus 14%, and Fuji 3%. So if they bleed red ink too long, there is a real possibility that their Board and shareholders will shut it down or sell it off.

Pointed out many times perhaps. But several of the companies you mentioned started out in the Photographic business - Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Fuji. As such this is part of their heritage and being Japanese, with a slightly different corporate mindset to that of some Western companies, they are very reluctant to let that go even if their photo divisions are not very profitable. In the case of Canon their photo video division is actually very profitable so that does not apply in any case - but it did in the late '80s when Business Equipment was going gangbusters and photo was in the doldrums and there were calls from some to dump it. Despite this the Canon Board kept faith with photo and their long term vision was probably rewarded.

I realize that; but first Konica and then Minolta threw in the towel.  KM seems to be doing OK in business equipment.  Panasonic has been bleeding red ink, and they have little long term commitment to photography, unlike Canon and Nikon.  I have no idea if Samsung is profitable in cameras; but again, no heritage in the business, Sony either.  I don't know where they are today; but in 2011 or 2012, the situation for Olympus was that the other portions of the company made some 31 Byn, and the total company made 6 BYn.  That a 25 BYn loss in photo.  It's a measure of their commitment; but another 2 or 3 years like that would probably have meant the end of Olympus cameras, as that kind of drain severely inhibits development in other business areas by depleting working capital.

The thing that many ignore though is the halo effect of cameras on other parts of the business. Arguably copiers, chemicals and steppers are not particularly sexy and so the image of a company to the general public can be considerably influenced by a division producing attractive consumer products with prominent visibility. Even if those products do not produce much or indeed any profit. Think of it as a marketing expense.

A good point for the most recognized companies.  Canon and Nikon for sure.  But now that Pentax is part of Ricoh, I doubt if Ricoh copiers get much halo from Pentax DSLR's.  In Panasonic's case, their TV's probably cast a halo over their cameras, and I'd guess that is true for Samsung and Sony as well.  Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic entered digital photography based on their expertise in chips and CCDs, and video products.  They had no heritage in still photography before that.  Canon, Nikon, Ricoh/Pentax, Leica, and Olympus have a long history in film photography and a corporate tradition.

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