While photographers trade organization are wasting their time fighting issues like the Oprhan Work bill in order the save whatever they have left, and while photo agencies association seem violently silent, the world of editorial continue its downfall.

According to Radaronline, Newsweek magazine got rid of 111 staffers last week ( didn’t even know they had that many)  and the newspapers of America had the worst ad revenue in its 50 years history, according to E&P.Worst than the 2001 slump. While analysts seem to confuse Getty going private with Getty shutting down, it is quite obvious that the tide is retreating before the big hit.

As previously written here, the editorial world will loose its dailies and weeklies in favor of the internet. It is not a question of if, but when. Monthlies will continue to thrive as long as they keep away from time sensitive news. The old ways will not continue.

While this continues, photographers and agencies will continue to bear the heaviest load as they will be asked to support the biggest part of theit cost saving initiative. A lot of companies will sink with the ships they will be trying to save. Those who will survive are those who are, today, turning to the new market. Companies, like Getty, that have understood that the future is on the Internet and create for themselves opportunities to be competitive.

Istockphoto, and other micro/midstock agencies are a good example of internet savvy photo agencies. Lean, mean, fast, cost effective companies that have learned to both cut their costs and leverage technology to its fullest. They can reach wide and far accross the world and up and down the client ladder. Others have jumped into new licensing models like Gumgum which  allows them to operate like a microstock on but a RM model.

The issue will be the relenvency of content. Currently, the internet is replicating the print editorial world. Some are adding video or multimedia, but it is still very linear. But that will change too as “born in the internet” art directors will re -invent  the web page and how we consume our news. Photographers will and agencies will have to reinvent their offering to match it.

Getty, by going private, will certainly take advantage of this new situation. They have already by acuiring Istockphoto. The celebrity photo agencies have also initiated the switch by producing videos and embrassing new licensing models. Others will probablly decide that book publishing, exhibits, grants are a better way to go and try to carve a controlled market. But, with schools already using Wikipedia and other National Geographic sites as references, how long will this market survive?

More technology based solutions are peeking out of the horizon that can help this industry  make a succesful transition. It is, a little, heartbreaking to see how slowly they are being ignored by the guardians of the old temple who beleive that saving what they have is better than growing in new markets.

Author: pmelcher

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