@ Midem: Kodak Owns A Stake In TweetPhoto Service

Turns out Kodak’s November partnership with Twitter photosharing service TweetPhoto also gave it equity in the service.

Asked about approaches to partnerships, Eastman Kodak CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett told delegates at the Midem music conference in Cannes, France, on Saturday: “I really like the one we did with TweetPhoto – so much so that we took a piece of the company“.

The pair announced a “collaborative agreement”, one of the first products of which was a promotion that offers Kodak cameras to people who tweet “#KodakTweets”.

TweetPhoto competes with TwitPic and Yfrog in what is still a nascent arena – real-time photo-sharing to Twitter and some other social sites. Kodak is desperately trying to embrace not just digital cameras but also digital services, as its core physical-film and printer businesses slow down. Hayzlett said Eastman Kodak had gone from a $15 billion business to a $200 million one.

The TweetPhoto relationship isn’t a major strategic alliance – it’s just one of a range the company is likely to do, and such services haven’t yet proven themselves successful businesses. In the same space, Orange, trying to give its phone users a service to use on its network, also recently launched a TweetPhoto-style service, Snapshot.

TweetPhoto was co-founded by Rodney Rumford and Sean Callahan in March 2009.

Kodak’s future? “It looks very bright,” Hayzlett said. “When a company like KKR starts putting in hundreds of millions of dollars, they must see something that’s worth the investment.” Kodak took $700 million in debt from KKR in September (WSJ).