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Not just pixels anymore: name change to DNP better reflects company's digital, silver-halide offerings.

Earlier this year, the former Pixel Magic Imaging, San Marcos, Texas, officially changed its name to DNP Photo Imaging America Corp. ( that had been in the works for years.

"The name change reflects the overall strategy of the DNP efforts," explains Brett Cameron, who was appointed CEO last year. "With the acquisition of silver halide (in 2006), DNP took a much stronger position in photo media worldwide. When (Japan-based) DNP bought us 3 years ago, there was talk of changing the name at that time, then again last year. The well was primed for the change, and customers knew DNP. Actually, there was confusion about the Pixel Magic name in terms of what we did."

DNP Photo Imaging America Corp. provides store-branded digital imaging solutions such as photo kiosks, dye-sublimation minilabs, dye-sub media, and silver-halide paper products to large-scale photo retailers. DNP, in fact, is the world's largest supplier of dye-sub media.

The U.S.-based DNP is majority owned by Japan's Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd. of Japan, a Global Fortune 500 company with more than $13 billion in annual revenue. In the photo industry, DNP comprises the big three, along with Fujifilm Corp. and Eastman Kodak Co.

The acquisition that brought silver-halide on board came last year via the purchase of the Konica Minolta photo imaging silver-halide manufacturing facility in Odawara, Japan.

While DNP has been working through the transition, it has also continued to innovate, stresses Cameron. At PMA 07 in March in Las Vegas, Nev., DNP unveiled a prototype for the next evolution of its existing NexLab digital minilab. The minilab, in fact, was a DIMA Innovative Digital Product Award winner and will be ready for mass market by the fall. The key features of the dye-sub minilab are sorting to one output location (rather than two) and offering back print capabilities. DNP also won a DIMA 2007 Digital Printer Shoot-Out award for its Q4 dye-sublimation digital printer for photo labs and professional photographers.

All this has spelled growth for the company. Revenue increased 120 percent from 2005 to 2006, and more than 100 percent growth is expected this year. "Every department is growing, in fact," says Cameron, "except sales, where we're focusing on relationships."

Entering new markets

Before the Konica-Minolta acquisition, U.S.-based DNP had no silver-halide offerings. Now, silver halide comprises nearly 25 percent of the overall volume in revenue. That has proved to be a competitive advantage.

"There is still a lot of growth in silver halide," says Cameron. "For the larger retailers, it's hard for them to leave silver halide due to a cost perspective. Many don't factor in costs such as labor, so from that perspective silver halide is indeed much cheaper.

"Silver halide is still a good market and has allowed us to build relationships with companies and get a foot in the door where we might not have if we only had dye sub," he adds. "There are also many professional photographers still in the film world."

Having access to DNP resources, the former Pixel Magic can innovate in ways it simply could not have previously. Cameron cites the newly introduced NexLab as an example, and says the company is already working on the next version of the dye-sub minilab.

Cameron also has a unique perspective in being able to see photo behavior of consumers worldwide. One of the biggest differences he sees is how much more "dye-sub friendly" the environment in Europe and Japan is compared to the United States.

"Dye sub is in its infancy here. Other countries have much more access to the kiosk environment for functions such as IDs, greeting cards and more," says Cameron. "For instance, it's not uncommon in Japan to see 40 or 50 kiosks up against the wall in a photo store, and have all of them busy."

Another difference is how companies view the consumer. Japan and Europe, Cameron says, cater to the Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation I consumer (Bill Gates' term for the Internet generation), whereas the United States seems to be "fixed on the soccer mom. That means the marketing and buying patterns much are different," he adds.

Getting consumers to print

The DNP core focus is printing, and a big challenge for the industry as a whole is getting the consumers to print even a small portion of the digital images they're snapping. "The United States is the largest market for prints, and we have to get people to buy prints," Cameron stresses.

He believes a large part of that task falls to companies such as Kodak and Fujifilm, as well as HP, which has been a leader in the home market. With DNP not a branding company--it focuses on bringing its products under the OEM or retailer names--other companies are better-positioned to send a unified message to consumers about printing their digital images.

"We do lots of focus groups here, and what's amazing are the options people have for viewing their pictures. I carry seven devices at one time to show photos. That's a major hindrance to printing," he says.

"Consumers need a unified message on what to do with their pictures. Right now there are a wide set of technologies, a wide set of players, and no standards. Each company is trying to survive, and exclusivity is still a key in that world," he says. "We need to have a unified 'Got Pictures' type of message."

While the main DNP focus is on the chain retailers, Cameron says the company is building scalable products that can suit a larger retailer delivering a couple thousand prints an hour to much smaller volumes for independent retailers.

"The independents follow what the big retailers do, and lots of them haven't made up their minds yet" in terms of product offers, workflow, etc., he says. "But we certainly want to offer products for the independent retailer."

Having taken a leading position in many areas, Cameron says the next step for DNP is software.

"We already have the best media price for dye-sub. In hardware, by fall we'll have another first-class machine on the market. That leaves software and service.

"We've been working on that for months, and we want to make kiosk software that is closer to what people are using outside the photo environment," he says. "Other technologies, such as facial recognition, will also play a key role. Our goal is to make a splash at PMA 08."

Fast facts

Company: DNP Photo Imaging America Corp.

Location: San Marcos, Texas

CEO: Brett Cameron

Parent Company: Company is majority owned by Japan-based Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd., a Global Fortune 500 company with more than $13 billion in annual revenue.

Services: DNP Photo provides store-branded digital imaging solutions for the photo retail market. With more than 25 years experience developing and producing dye-sublimation media products, DNP Photo Imaging America Corp. is the world's largest supplier of dye-sub media.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Business & Marketing; DNP Photo Imaging America Corp.
Author:Gretzner, Bonnie
Publication:PMA Magazine - Connecting the Imaging Communities
Article Type:Company overview
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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