Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/09/06

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Subject: [Leica] Re: Ilford, B&W Market
From: dnygr at (Douglas Nygren)
Date: Mon Sep 6 09:04:17 2004

It's unclear whether Ilford will survive and in what form it will if it 
does.  But I think it's clear there will be a market for Black and 
White regardless of what happens to Ilford.

I read somewhere last week that Ilford had 60% of the B&W market. 
Earlier I had heard that Ilford was affected by the many schools that 
have either closed or scaled back their darkrooms. My guess is that 
Ilford was too big for the changing market. It could not adapt, had too 
much capacity, too much overhead. It was not flexible enough to change.

Perhaps in a scaled back mode it can.

As for size, I think the smaller companies--those that can adjust 
capacity to demand, those with little debt (in 1998 or 1999 Ilford had 
been bought up by some company. How big was its debt? Debt is like a 
deadweight. You can shed employees, but you can't shed debt so 
easily.).  Big car companies want big sales numbers whereas a small 
company like Porsche can make a handsome profit on selling less than 
50,000 cars a year (their research facility helps a lot, too).

I don't think Ilford's problems mean the end of black and white, though 
if its products disappear, it will mean many of us will have to be 
adaptive in our own right.

Doug Nygren