Recently, I discovered a heated war room movie scene that has been doctored to parody a well known dictator’s views on the new Nikon D3x. The rant is interesting commentary on economic theory and business ideas.
Watch the 4 minute YouTube clip. Read the underlying business ideas:
- Lust as a sales tool. A high priced product with the perception of excellence can be a powerful marketing tool. People will gab, blog and even post Youtube creations about outrageously priced high end products. The hype of the fabled D3x collectively pushes the image on Nikon into people’s consciousness. How many D3x cameras will get sold? Dunno. How much hype has the high priced, new flagship created? Plenty!
- Barriers to entry. The Nikon D3x has a suggested retail price of C$9449. That’s a bucket of cash! And while Harry Inc. (and the dictator in the film clip) gasps at the price we also see the value of making quality equipment so high. Currently, ‘anybody’ can buy a camera for hundreds of dollars and proclaim they are professional photographers. There are no barriers to entry – high priced equipment or certifications – to protect our industry from amateurs posing as seasoned technical experts. I cannot go and buy a jumbo jet and offer flights to Europe. Creating higher priced pro equipment creates a higher cost to enter a segment of the market.
- Built-in redundancy. Camera manufacturers have developed a great short term business model for themselves. With quality film cameras there was little incentive to purchase new equipment. Nikon’s pro film line up consisted of six cameras (Nikon F to F6) developed over sixty years. That’s a new camera every 10 years. The trusty Nikon FM2 (one of my faves) had a production life of 20 years! Digital technology created a fantastic new revenue stream for camera manufacturers: Nikon’s pro digital line up has offered three machines (Nikon D1 to D3x) – with nine different, increasingly sophisticated versions in less than ten years. It is no coincidence that camera manufacturers have been pushing digital technology – creating a need to replace cameras more often – producing a much steeper sales curve! I expect once digital technology starts to level manufacturers will start promoting film as a niche market – supporting the purchase of new film cameras.
- Creative business alternatives to staying technologically ahead. The dictator in the film clip tells someone to ‘get my F2.’ Film is still often a viable – and much cheaper – option. the new D3x is the first DSLR I know that can (possibly) meet the quality and size of a high quality 35mm film scan. Our workflow jumped into digital much later in the game because of the high costs and low initial benefit of digital!
- Client expectations constantly evolve with new technology. The D3x sets new standards that clients will come to expect. Pre-digital, I was expected to take pictures, edit the film and submit the slides – period. Now, our agencies will not accept slides. Stock sales have not increased to cover costs of digital equipment or the time to post process files. Some traditional clients still accept film and/or are willing to pay for the increased costs of producing digital files.
Enjoy. It looks like the D3x is a new landmark. We’re evaluating our budgets. Please license more photos!