FujiFilm Announces Worldwide Price Rise…Again!
In a shock move, FujiFilm has announced price rises for all of its film, again. And when I say shock move, my tongue is most firmly jammed into my cheek. Yes, FujiFilm has done it again. But why?
Imagine my surprise when I was reading PhotoRumors today and saw the news that FujiFilm is going to ‘substantially’ raise the prices of film worldwide from this month. My surprise mainly springs from the fact that it was announced on the global site first, as they usually tuck this sort of unsavoury information deep in the bowels of their Japanese site.
It seems like only a few months ago that the prices were raised….Oh wait a minute, it was only a few months ago! So why another one? Well, simple economics really. FujiFilm isn’t even bothering to pretend anymore. They want out of the film game and they have made that pretty obvious.
Chieki is hugely popular for them, so that will stay. But the rest of the film production is losing money. Heavily. And with good reason, because FujiFilm wants it to. You have to sell a whole lot more film that you do sensors to make a profit. And you can get people to upgrade those sensors every couple of years for and even bigger profit.
The demand for film products is continuously decreasing and the cost of production, such as raw materials stays at a high level and cost increase associated with lower volumes becomes much serious. Under such circumstances, despite our effort to maintain the production cost, Fujifilm is unable to absorb these costs during the production process and is forced to pass on price increases.
To sustain its photo imaging business, Fujifilm has decided to increase the price of photographic films.
In this statement you can clearly see the business model that has been chosen for the future of film within FujiFilm. There are a few very good reasons why demand for FujiFilm products are decreasing.
1. The prices are becoming unrealistic. As they rise, demand will continually fall.
2. Absolutely zero advertising/promotion. Fuji no longer promotes film products at all (aside from Chieki, which is very heavily promoted), as far as I am aware. So people are either unaware FujiFilm is still making film or are unaware of what is available.
3. Restrictive (and absurd) wholesale pricing for merchants. FujiFilm expect higher and higher minimum order quantities for small buyers. Making it impossible for them to actually stock the films without spending huge sums of money.
Insider whispers from Fuji in Japan have told me that the film department has been slashed and had advertising funding cut to zero. Apparently there are only 2 staff members in the department for the whole of Japan now, and they have no power within the company at all.
Call me a cynic, but if you think this is due to the ‘market pressures’ then you have been drinking their X-Sensor flavoured Kool-Aid. This is a carefully planned strategic exit from the market.
So, Fuji, let’s get it over with. I say Fuji, as you might as well drop Film from your name, as it is no longer part of your business. Jog on Fuji, there are plenty of other Film manufacturers who are doing a much better job than you of promoting film photography.
Oh, and just so everyone knows. Fujifilm sells ‘slimming products’ on the TV in Japan, which is basically snake-oil. I have little respect for companies that prey on the insecure.
Companies like Berrger, Ilford, Rollei, Adox, Ferrania and others too are still making film and have new ideas coming. 2016 is going to be a great year for film. Even Kodak had enough confidence in the market to make their new Super8 camera, with developing chucked in! Sorry you will miss the party, Fuji.