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EZ Prints Inc. Consolidates Operations

EZ Prints Inc. is consolidating its headquarters and photofinishing operations into one Atlanta, GA facility. The company said the move "provides a strong base for continued incremental growth, greater operating efficiencies, and improved access to infrastructure and employees." EZ Prints provides its strategic partners with a private-label, backend fulfillment service for online photos and digital images.

by Joe Diliberto, PMDA President

In today's photographic industry, we face more challengesand opportunitiesthan ever. The challenges range from coping with the lingering worldwide economic weakness to dealing with the transition to the digital age. Still, I truly believe this is the most exciting time to be involved in our industrya revolutionary eraas image science and information technology converge. Technological advances continue to generate products and services that stimulate the traditional film and the digital experience for amateur and professional photographers alike.

During the next three to five years, three trends will dominate and stimulate industry growth. They will capture the industry's overarching objectives to innovate, communicate and simplifyfor the consumer's sake. We must understand these trends to determine what investments will capture consumer acceptance best.

First, film will continue to play a mega role. Today, virtually all households in the U.S. own a camera and nearly 80% of all exposures are made on film. Even when a family buys a digital camera, it continues to use the film camera for a portion of its picture-taking experiences. Traditional and one-time-use cameras are convenient, economically priced and widely used. As an industry, we must continue to expand the benefits of film to capitalize on this segment of our business.

Secondly and concurrently, digital photographsboth scanned film and digital captureswill permeate society, especially the business and commercial worlds. We need to drive output in all forms to help consumers do even more with their pictures. We require not only innovation in this area but clear communications to define the benefits of the technology and make consumers aware of them.

Third and also concurrently, sharingthat is to say, printingwill drive output. I consider this our industry's biggest growth opportunity, especially during the next couple of years. We need to make it easy and convenient for consumers to get prints from digital cameras and employ the technology to share the print. While people with digital cameras take many more pictures than people who use film cameras, they print far less because printing is still too complicated. Simplicity is keyand we can apply the film model to making prints from digital cameras. Since sharing pictures always will be central to people's lives, all this activity will drive printing.

We've begun a journey that will generate many picture-sharing opportunities for consumers as well as equally promising commercial opportunities for manufacturers and retailers. It's a journey where the industry will develop new businesses in new markets. What an exciting time for photography.

The PMDA plays a vital role that will grow as this vast new photographic world continues to unfold. Its forums allow members to understand the opportunities and the challenges ahead, to exchange ideas and to leverage the strength of their colleagues. These forums become mini-MBAs in photoimaging, with industry leaders and experts regularly providing members with continuing education. They help members define what their roles should be.

And, on the education front, PMDA will continue to broaden its efforts to promote photography to consumersthrough innovative activities like the very informative website from the Photoimaging Information Council, a joint venture of PMDA and the Photo Marketing Association.

This new year ahead represents the PMDA's 64th yearand it promises to be a very stimulating and rewarding one for the industry.