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Kodak aims to monetize mobile photo sharing app

Consumers love using mobile phones to snap photos, browse photos and send them to friends. Being able to use a mobile app to quickly order prints of their favorite images is an important convenience for on-the-go users.

“Being able to order prints was by far the most popular feature request – and in some cases a demand – from our app users,” said Trent Gruenwald, product marketing manager at Kodak Gallery, Emeryville, CA.

“Today’s mobile consumers have a ‘need it now’ mentality,” he said. “They want to be able to quickly order prints at the end of a trip or a party, where they might be sharing photos with friends in a Group Album, and pick them up on their way home.

“Our goals are to grow our user base and increase revenue by providing real value to the mobile consumer.”

Monetizing photo apps
Photo sharing apps are increasingly popular with consumers and companies, with services such as Pinterest and Instagram growing quickly. Instagram was recently acquired by Facebook for $1 billion.

Kodak Gallery is the online service from Kodak that enables users to organize, edit and print their photos.

The company reports that more than 25 percent of Kodak Gallery new members are joining via its mobile apps and almost half its print-to-store orders are already come from the iPhone app.

Additionally, the Kodak Gallery mobile app ranks in the top 20 free photo apps in Apple’s App Store and in the top five in the Amazon’s app store. More than one million photos are uploaded every week using the Kodak Gallery app.

The app is also available for iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and tablet devices.

The print-to-store functionality points to how Kodak is trying monetize its photo sharing app.

“We also want to prove that mobile photo apps can be monetized, which not many people have done,” Mr. Gruenwald said. “Some photo apps make money by charging to download or through premium features but there aren’t any apps with scale that generate revenue by enabling people to order products.”

Photo goes mobile
The print-to-store capability is available now at more than 1,200 Target and more than 6,500 CVS locations throughout the United States.

Users can choose which photos they want print and pick them up at any participating Target or CVS locations in about one hour.

Kodak continues to add new functionality to the app, including enabling Android users to share a single photo or album to a Pinterest board.

“Mobile is the future of the photo business,” Mr. Gruenwald said. “It’s where the majority of the growth is going to come from.

“Mobile devices are not only replacing the point and shoot digital camera but people are shifting their time from the desktop to smartphones and tablets,” he said.