Accelerating its foray into distributing photos on the Internet, Eastman Kodak Co. said Thursday it will take control of its biggest online competitor.
With PictureVision Inc., Kodak will reach another 40,000 online customers, or about eight times the 5,000 online customers it now has.
“The ability of consumers to use, view and share their photos over the Internet has just taken a giant step forward,” PictureVision president and chief executive Phil Garfinkle said. Garfinkle will retain his current title while becoming general manager of Kodak Network Services.
Kodak is buying a 51 percent stake in PictureVision, but other terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Kodak’s Picture Network customers pay $4.95 a month to have up to 100 pictures stored online. After the film is dropped off at a retail outlet, the prints are delivered online a day or two later or at in-store Kodak Image Magic kiosks. Privately-held PictureVision, which began its PhotoNet services in 1996, allows quicker Internet posting directly from 9,000 photo shops and other retail outlets that process film on-site.