The web takes on stock photos
Yet another media business being threatened by the Internet? Stock photography. Rumors are flying today that Getty Images (GYI), the top syndicator of photos to wires, newspapers, and other media, is considering buying Jupitermedia (JUPM), a major competitor. Why? A long post by Thomas Hawk, CEO of Zooomr, a photo-sharing site, over at Seeking Alpha brings up some pretty interesting ideas:
The stock photography market will be changing dramatically in the next few years - with or without the current market leaders. It's inevitable. The laws of economics require it. When I met with Getty CEO Jonathan Klein late last year he said that the biggest threat to their business was the [Canon EOS] 5D (figuratively) that I was holding in my hands when I asked him the question.
Example number one million of the democratization of newsphotography is the recent JetBlue runway mess story, where newspapers and websites were splashing photos taken onboard by a passenger with a cellphone cam.
Hawk notes that both Getty and Jupitermedia have acquired smaller microstock companies that buy photos off the web, from smaller professional photo agencies, amatuers, and hobbyists. Corbis (another big stock-photo provider) will start doing some microstock of his own.
But Hawk says his Zooomr will start helping its users, who can be anybody, sell their photos directly to the wire servies (like AP and Reuters) that distribute the photos widely to media. And that represents the real threat to the biz, because the photogs themselves will defect. Here's his case:
Photographers everywhere will find this a far more attractive model than the current one today where they might get 20% to 50% payouts on images that are sold for $1 to $20.
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