The photography industry has had a hard time in the past years, seeing overall sales decline thanks in part to the worldwide economic crisis, but also due to camera-equipped smartphones eating into the point-and-shoot market. And while the overall sales are stagnating, if not even continuing to go down, some niches such as mirrorless cameras are on the up again. Panasonic, maker of Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses, states in its latest financial report that it is finally generating profits again–but unfortunately not from its photography business.
Compared to the previous fiscal year, Panasonic claims to have raised its overall sales by 6% in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2014, from JPY 7,303bn to JPY 7,736.5bn. Responsible for the rising sales, according to the company’s fiscal report, is in part the slightly depreciated Japanese Yen, but also the overall global economic recovery. At the same time, the company is still committed to eliminating unprofitable businesses by next year, which may also include its photography branch.
Sales of Panasonic’s AVC Networks segment, which includes the photography business, continued to decline unfortunately, by 3% as compared to the same time a year ago. However, the profits of the segment rose by 159%, thanks to the previous termination of unprofitable parts of the segment. For the fiscal year 2015, Panasonic hopes to be able to increase its overall profits by a further 2%.
As for the company’s photography business, we can only hope that the new GH4 Micro Four Thirds camera will generate sufficient sales for the business to make a profit again. After all, it is currently the most affordable 4K-capable system camera, and Panasonic has a very solid and well-performing lineup of Micro Four Thirds lenses. It would be very sad to see the company’s photography business go down the drainpipe next year.