Magazine Article


About Face at ASF

Charged with the sales burden are two former Kodak execs, Al Schogeleff, VP of Sales, who was part of the Kodak Picture Maker team, and Derek Reed, another Picture Maker veteran.

Mike said that his best bet would be to approach groups like IPI, PRO and Town & Country to talk to an assemblage. Moto Photo franchisees, independents all, might be attracted. He also indicated that a series of road shows was being considered and hoped that by the PMA show he would be able to announce a schedule.

Is the DigiPIX different than any other kiosk available today? It's hard to keep up with the myriad of kiosk offerings. For example, Kodak is currently testing four different kiosk systems in a 500-store market test in Atlanta. Included are two units that will accept all digital media: Kodak Digital Printing Station which will burn CD's and output 4x6 for about $10,000; Kodak Print Station, an upgrade of the Picture Maker, which will accept digital cards, burn CD's and copy print on its scanner for about $20,000. Other branded kiosks abound.

A major feature of the DigiPIX that would distinguish itself from all other kiosks is the inclusion of ASF's proprietary image enhancement software: ICE, ROC, GEM and SHO.

(Brief descriptions: ICE removes surface defects during scan; ROC removes colorcast from faded film and restores to original color; GEM reduces grain in film images; SHO reveals details covered in backlit exposures. Together they can offer a powerful set of tools to restore old and damaged prints or negatives.)

These features apparently can become revenue enhancers for the retailer. The CVS Acton, MA, test installation consists of a D-Pic film processor near the front entrance and two DigiPIX Image Stations located elsewhere in the store. According to Dan, the store is averaging 10-15 scans a day at $6.99 each for an 8x10 print. The store charges an extra $1 per scan to include the cleanup of the scan with ICE and another $1 to include ROC. (SHO is not offered in the test.) The customer can see on the touch screen what the scanned print would look like with each of the features included and make a choice accordingly. Dan said that 45-50% of the CVS customers are choosing both and paying $9; at Keeble & Suchart, 70% upgraded.

On the D-Pic film processor the store is handling between 10 and 21 rolls a day, according to Dan, and does any size roll for $4.59 which includes the CD-ROM and an index print. The images from the D-Pic are output on one of the DigiPIX stations at a cost of 35-cents per 4x6.

Does the development of the DigiPIX put the D-Pic film processor on the ASF back burner? No, according to Dan Sullivan. He indicated there was still an ongoing OEM program to interest partners in marrying the D-Pic with someone's digital kiosk. He feels D-Pic will be attractive to someone in the output business where the big bucks are in the consumables, paper and ink. Of course, consumables are a major element of the D-Pic business model, as well.

If he were to get an OEM partner for D-Pic in the near future does that mean that ASF would bow out of the DigiPIX kiosk? Forgot to ask Dan that questionand maybe he's glad I didn't. My bet is that if they can develop an interest and positive sales stream for the kiosk, ASF would find a way to work both sides of the street. It's done every day, even in the photo industry. ptn

ASF has decided to enter the kiosk fray with its own model. The DigiPIX Image Station, with all the bells and whistles, will sell for about $20,000, though ASF will customize with any feature package.

Jerry Lansky is president of MiniLab Consultants, Inc.,
P.O. Box 475, Colts Neck, NJ 07722. Tel: (732) 946-8484.