Kodak and Barco, a Belgian firm, announced a strategic partnership aimed at picking up the pace of digitizing the big screen. Barco makes digital movie projectors. In fact, it has outfitted 200 screens with digital projectors. Two hundred screens make for a nice toehold, but they barely scratch the surface in terms of worldwide screen penetration.
Kodak's announcement comes on the heels of a deal in which Access Integrated Technology
The alliance calls for Barco to bring the projector to the customer and for Kodak to bring the systems, software, and service. In addition, Kodak brings its wealth of imaging-technology knowledge to the table. Together, Kodak and Barco want to create even better products going forward. To me, partnering up sounds like a good strategy. Each company fills a need to make a stronger competitor that can establish a first-mover advantage. And cinemas get one-stop shopping and service for their needs.
First-mover advantage in a market estimated to be $5 billion is the clearly the goal. For theaters such as Regal
Before getting too excited, note that these partnerships are very far out in front of the transformation. In fact, they do not expect customers to begin making serious changes until around 2007. But kudos to Kodak for getting a product ready for customers to buy well ahead of when they actually need it.
The digital revolution will not be stopped. And this is a great example of Kodak's getting out in front instead of playing catch-up.