Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Little Love For The Paparazzi

A story published in yesterday's Hollywood Reporter  describes how the celebrity-stalking Paparazzi, or more precisely... the picture distribution agencies representing , negotiating on behalf of and distributing the work of celebrity photographers, have banded together to tackle one of the more pressing issues brought about by the new digital publishing models being adopted by magazines whose stock in trade has been the publishing of photographs of the rich, famous & notorious. Specifically, according to the article, these agencies have banded together to embargo photo use in People Magazine until they can successfully negotiate additional use compensation for the magazine's iPad application.

This is good news for photographers, writers, illustrators and all content providers earning their daily bread by providing the fruits of their labors to editorial publishers. Similar pricing models may eventually come into being for advertising use as companies promoting their brand become more reliant of the growing popularity of apps for smart phones, medial tablets and other content delivery tools yet to be brought to market.

Andrew Wallenstein writes for THR:
While the standoff centers on one publication for now, just about any other brand that makes photos of the rich and famous their stock in trade is watching nervously from the sidelines. Whatever deal they strike could set the terms of trade for the industry going forward.

Mr. Wallenstein continues:
Photo agencies are taking a keen interest in the iPad because while online usage of their snapshots commands a fraction of what their fees earn from print usage, they recognize the potential for the tablet market to be a game-changer. 
"They realized that in most cases was not making ad revenue or subscription money off extended use of their photos," said Brandy Navarre, vp at X17, a photo agency that plans to negotiate separately from its unified front of competitors. "But when you're talking about paid apps supplemented by advertisements, that's something different altogether."
 Take the time to read the THR article... and then begin thinking about how this applies to the way you license your own work. The entire story can be found HERE.

While the crux of this story centers on celebrity image use and People Magazine for the moment, the broader issue here is traditional print  and/or secondary online publishing. With the declining advertising revenues, rapidly changing reader demographics and newly evolving tools for content delivery forcing competitive publications to turn to web-based publishing as either their primary publishing venue or as an e-supplement for their new tech-savy readership, the need to address these issues surrounding the additional licensing fees for image use these in new, often secondary/supplemental digital publications is even more pressing if we are to remain economically viable in the foreseeable future.

 Increasingly, online publications are being monetized... that is, they are selling advertising space on their websites and exploring this new avenue of revenue generation. Without the content provided by photographers, illustrators & writers, publishers have nothing to sell as they attempt to mine these new veins of potential gold. The picture agencies cited in the THR article recognize the importance of this issue and even though the agencies involved may be arch-rivals, they have thrown their collective might together to take a strong stand that can and should eventually benefit  all of us in the long run by throwing the matter squarely on the table. 

It's not a matter of US vs. THEM... or of creator vs. publisher, or it shouldn't be. It's simply a matter of what's fair is fair. Without editorial publishers, we would be hard pressed to generate income from our work. Without our work, publishers would be hard pressed to sell advertising or generate any interest in their product(s). Life would be grand if we could all work together to  explore these new potentials for revenue.

Thanks to Rob at A Photo Editor for the find.

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