Opening the Door to the Mainstream Acceptance of Digital Imaging
Today, digital imaging is poised to move beyond early technology
adopters into mainstream consumer acceptance. But to reach
mainstream consumers, we must show them that digital imaging is all
about communication, about connecting people in new and exciting
ways, about "a picture is worth a thousand words." We must show
them the practical benefits of digital imaging and what it can do
to improve their lives.
The digital camera market is essentially a first-time buyers' market, and we see the digital camera market continuing to grow dramatically this year, mostly with consumers purchasing cameras in the $100-$300 range. That's good news in a year of economic uncertainty. But what can we do better to really drive digital imaging into the mainstream, to make consumers as comfortable with digital imaging as they are with traditional photography?
We believe there are four steps to mainstream consumer acceptance:
• Step One - Education
Manufacturers need to better explain what digital imaging is and the fun and exciting things consumers can do with digital cameras. Our new ad campaign, "Do You Speak Fuji?" focuses on that theme and earlier this year we launched our FinePix "Picture of America" Tour - an interactive mobile demonstration vehicle designed to educate consumers firsthand on the fun and ease of digital imaging. Our simple, complete four-step digital imaging process - "Shoot, Store, Print, Share" - sums up what digital imaging is all about. It turns digital picture-takers into digital picture-makers.
• Step Two - High-quality prints
We must provide consumers with the same high-quality prints from digital that they have come to expect from film. Toward that end, Fujifilm continues to refine our manufacturing processes as one of the only digital camera companies that manufactures all of the key components - both optics and electronics - for our digital cameras.
• Step Three - Make it easy to get digital prints
Our own research has shown that many digital camera users would consider printing digital photos at retail if a service comparable to one-hour film processing were offered. Manufacturers need to make getting a digital print as simple as getting a traditional print, and we need to make it easy for retailers to get into the digital processing business.
We started on this road with the invention of the first digital minilab. Today, Fujifilm offers both consumers and retailers a complete choice of photographic, digital and online service options. Fujifilm's strategy to provide our retail partners with their own branded online photo sites or with photo processing services remains sound - just ask Wal-Mart, Ritz Camera or MSN.com.
• Step Four - Make digital imaging easy and fun
We must make digital cameras "dummy proof," so that they can be picked up out of the box and used immediately - without reading the instruction manual.
In addition to making cameras simple to operate, we must solve image transfer problems and make computer connectivity easier. For example, Fujifilm created a USB cradle on our FinePix 6800 ZOOM and 4800 ZOOM cameras to enable direct computer connection for image transfer, Internet videoconferencing and recharging the battery.
We also recently expanded our relationship with Microsoft based on a shared core belief - that ease of use and fun are the key to widespread acceptance of digital photography. That's why our digital cameras will be plug and play compatible with Microsoft's Windows XP, a system that will offer digital newcomers an extremely simple and intuitive way for storing, sharing and ordering prints of digital images.
We're really excited about the potential growth of the digital imaging market. And Fujifilm believes that we will succeed, if we stay true to the following formula:
• Give people a choice in how they take and share images - with film or digitally; with a point and shoot or multi-featured camera; via print or e-mail; online, at home or at the store; and
• Give people quality - whether that's a great image, a great print or just a fun and easy experience taking pictures.
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.
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