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Wednesday, 22 November, 2000, 16:48 GMT
Kodak targets nostalgic digi-cam users
Kodak's new digital photo service
An online service that will make professional prints of photographs taken using digital cameras was launched on Wednesday by the photo firm Kodak, in a joint venture with the internet service provider Freeserve.

"Consumers have always been in control of their picture taking. This puts them in control of their picture making as well," said Gareth Jones, general manager, Kodak Digital Europe.

The competition is out there

Only very cynical critics would dispute that it is a good idea.

However, the problem for the Kodak/Freeserve alliance is that it is not a new one.

Other firms, for example PhotoBox in association with Fujifilm, are already offering similar services.

"We're not the first," Mr Jones acknowledged. "But this is a combination of two premier names in the industry."

However, "we're not late into this," insisted Freeserve spokesman Paul Barker, who said that the launch was carefully timed.

"It is just before the Christmas selling period, which is perfect," he said.

Growing market

Electrical goods chain Dixon, the owner of Freeserve, will promote and distribute the service to anyone who buys a digi-cam in one of its 1,100 shops in the UK.

The market for digital cameras in Europe is doubling every year.

Kodak and Freeserve hope that as the sales of digital cameras continue to grow, people will be taking ever more photographs.

This should in turn boost demand for the prints offered by the new online service, Mr Jones said.

He argued that people are still keen to have paper copies of their photos, in addition to the digital versions that they can watch on screens and send by email.

Mr Jones compared the development of digital photography to the growth of mobile telephone ownership.

"You haven't thrown away your fixed phone line. You just talk more," Mr Jones said.

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See also:

21 Jun 00 | Business
Kodak looks to digital salvation
02 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
Digital cameras take on film
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Freeserve in share options shake-up
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Freeserve ejected from FTSE 100
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Freeserve cuts off heavy users
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Freeserve losses double
26 Sep 00 | Business
Freeserve tackles network trouble
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