ANNUAL PACA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE Oct 20-22, 2006 (REVIEW)
PACA President: The Storm Before The Calm (Welcoming Address)
PACA PR Chairperson: Conference In Key West A Great Success!
PACA International Conference Committee Chair: A Message
Session Reviews: By Gina Bringman/Alaska Stock Images
WELCOMING ADDRESS: THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM
By Roger Ressmeyer, PACA President, and CEO of Science Faction Images
Hello! On behalf of PACA's board, committee chairs and staff, welcome to the 2006 International Conference here in exotic Key West. Ever since PACA started planning this event, I've been worried about hurricanes. Big ones... the kind that could sweep us into the Gulf of Mexico. Luckily, the weather isn't being naughty at all this weekend. We are safe from Mother Nature. But early last summer, I realized I was worried about the wrong kind of hurricane—I was looking totally in the wrong direction. We are already in the middle of a giant hurricane, and it is a most unusual one.
While conditions remain calm and steady for some of us, a perfect storm is battering huge sectors of the image licensing industry. Tumultuous waves are challenging us to re-think the very way we do business. Just two years ago, many of us could not have envisioned the furious winds of change that are blowing today. For over a decade, back-to-back storms had already pummeled the industry. How could it get any worse? Easy...
Two years ago, we didn't imagine our professional, B2B market being glutted with millions of new images in such a short amount of time, driving down the "return per image."
Two years ago, although micro stock was already thriving, many of us did not imagine its profound implications for both the royalty free and rights managed sectors.
Two years ago, we could not imagine downward pricing pressures reaching a new level of epic proportions.
Just two years ago, we did not imagine the possibility that in 2006, the industry might be standing on the cusp of a recession caused by shrinking licensing fees. In the worst-case scenario, the stock image industry's revenue potential might shrink dramatically, even while the number of licensed images continues to increase.
That is our worst fear. But personally, I'm not very worried. Are you? Many of us feel or believe the storm will soon begin tapering off.
Yesterday we held a meeting of PACA's board and committee chairs. Overall, the meeting's spirit was very positive about the industry. In any event, today's cyclonic business climate challenges PACA to adapt and evolve its mission. Not the words of our mission statement—they're still spot on—but the implementation of those words. That is what I'm here to discuss.
PACA's Mission Statement simply says "(the association exists) to foster and protect the interests of the picture archive community through advocacy, education and communication." Tactically, I believe we are right on target, yet there is always so much more to do.
We are strongly advocating the adoption of PLUS, the Picture Licensing Universal System, along with enhanced rights-identification metadata that is embedded within digital image files.
We're ramping up education at schools and within the trade via the creation of new presentations and through the sponsorship and promotion of PACA attorney Nancy Wolff's soon-to-be released book about copyright law. Due out this spring, the book will help define solutions for one of our biggest challenges: the full protection of intellectual property. Pre-order your copy today!
Regarding the mission statement's third and final requirement, communication, we're escalating communications almost exponentially. You will see it in many places... for example, next January in the form of a totally redesigned new website. But there's more.
Our executive director Cathy Aron, with help from Cathy Sachs at ASPP, has organized a meeting of 18 industry trade associations to discuss and begin working together on industry threats. That profound gathering, dubbed the Association of Associations, will take place later this month in New York City. PACA is largely responsible for making it happen.
Over the next two days, we'll explore what's new and hopefully enlist you and your comrades into the movement to sail our industry into calmer waters.
After nearly a decade of continuous change, I suggest to you that the stock image business is just about fully integrated into the free-market global economy. This final phase of change, which includes price wars and the advent of micro pricing, has produced the strongest winds to date. Think of it as the storm before the calm.
While we're physically safe in Key West, let us not be lulled into a false sense of security. From end to end, our industry is very much in peril.
Now I know what you are probably thinking you've elected a lunatic as PACA's President. I admit I feel a little like the boy who cried "wolf!" one too many times. The last 10 to 15 years have ushered in changes so dramatic that it is hard to imagine anything that could be more upsetting, more traumatic or more destabilizing than what many of us have experienced already.
After what we have been through, we should be ready to handle just about anything!
Looking back ten years, the stock industry's landscape has already been transformed by the advent of digital technology, the creation of the internet, two waves of consolidations, the extinction of many venerable stock brands, new business models and the creation of large, publicly held stock photography corporations.
Yet we are still on the brink of what will be one of the most important periods in the history of our industry, a period that will shape stock photography for decades to come. Those that follow will either applaud or condemn us depending on how we handle it.
Many of us, representing a new generation of stock professionals, inherit an industry badly in need of some healing hands.
Much as our imaginary storm-battered ship has sails to mend, leaks to plug, machinery to repair, the stock industry now must fix some badly damaged relationships, correct some hasty decisions and plan a course that benefits everyone including image suppliers, customers, stockholders and, of course, the distributors in this room.
We must regroup and make long-term strategic decisions that will benefit our industry while setting aside the barriers we put up in recent years in order to survive.
And, let me be perfectly clear here. I believe the place for the industry to regroup—our safe harbor, if you will—is none other than PACA itself.
At PACA's spring meeting last April, Jeffrey Burke, my immediate predecessor as president of this organization, introduced us to a phrase from the world of economics: "gales of creative destruction."
Though the phrase, coined by former Harvard academic Joseph Schumpeter, was first uttered during the early half of the 20th century, it is a safe bet that it was new to most of us in the room that day. It is easy to understand why Jeffrey introduced the idea of creative destruction.
The term refers to the process by which new ideas, inventions, procedures and business structures replace old ones and, in doing so, often lead to the formation of new businesses and the extinction of older ones. In stock photography, we have witnessed two waves of "extinctions" during the last dozen years. We called them consolidations.
Consider some of the names that once represented well-known, well-respected stock photography companies, but which have now either ceased to exist or have become simply brands of other firms: The Image Bank, The Stock Market, FPG, Tony Stone, Comstock, PictureArts, Photonica, zefa, WorkbookStock—the list goes on.
These names have been replaced by Getty Images, Corbis, JupiterImages, Photolibrary, Alamy, Fotolia, Shutterstock, Veer and a number of others.
Interestingly, at roughly the same time Jeffrey was speaking to PACA, Pantheon was publishing the American Edition of Paul Ormerod's book, Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction & Economics.
Ormerod, a London economist, is, a bit of a rebel among economic scholars. Like Schumpeter, he is interested in processes rather than equilibrium. Ormerod compares patterns seen in business extinctions to mathematical models proposed to explain how natural selection and evolution occur. He finds some remarkable similarities.
Ormerod's theories will certainly be subject to the scrutiny of his peers over the next few years and it is hard to say how they will fare.
However, whether or not his work is judged solid, one of his conclusions seems to me to reflect good common sense about the consolidation and reorganization we are experiencing today, and it is worth quoting here:
"When we analyze the connection between the overall fitness of the system and the rate of extinction (of firms), we see clearly that periods immediately following large extinctions tend to have a relatively high overall fitness, as new firms are rushed in to fill the gaps opened by the eliminations. In other words, extinctions essentially play the role described... in... (the) phrase "creative destruction." Weaker firms are eliminated and replaced by firms which, on average, have a higher level of fitness."
Ladies and gentlemen, Ormerod could not have described the stock industry's current situation better if he had studied it specifically. After all the trauma of the last few years, all the extinctions, if you will, the stock image industry now has the opportunity to forge ahead and reach new heights. It has a new level of fitness and the strength and energy to handle the challenges.
But for each of us to succeed, opportunities must be recognized and challenges accepted. To quote Thomas Edison: "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
So lets get down to work and talk about some of the things I believe we must correct in the coming years if this industry we love is to achieve its full potential. I see three crucial areas of concern—the control of copyrights, the pricing of imagery and our relationships with our suppliers.
Let Us Start With Copyrights:
We all know that our industry loses massive revenue each year to infringement, maybe even more than we ultimately make. By providing large, easily downloaded imagery that could not be tracked, we are partly to blame.
We must accept some responsibility for this "Napsterization" of our imagery. We helped create a situation that makes image theft so easy that some people do not think twice before they snatch and use an image.
To make matters worse, the U.S. Congress will almost certainly pass some kind of orphan works legislation during its next session. By making it easier to use images when the copyright owner is unknown or cannot be found, Congress could open a huge hole in the copyright protections we have become accustomed to. Subsequent wholesale infringement of commercial and editorial stock images could drive many of us out of business.
We created this problem; now we must fix it. We must tighten our practices so that infringement becomes both difficult and costly. To do so, among other things we must vigorously support the PLUS coalition as it works to standardize licensing practices. How often do our customers use images in ways not covered by the license either because they do not fully understand that license or because the complexity of licensing practices gives them a handy excuse? It is imperative that buyers and sellers understand the language of licensing in exactly the same way. Tomorrow afternoon you'll be hearing more about the great strides PLUS has made over the past few weeks. You'll finally see the fruits of their efforts in the form of actual metadata panels that will soon be integrated into digital image files.
Going forward, we must consistently use embedded metadata to make sure clients remember the terms of their licenses. In today's marketplace, with licensing models proliferating, imagine how hard it must be for clients to keep track of which rights packages go with which images. If we want our customers to comply with the terms of sale, we must make it manageable; embedded metadata is the key.
We also must make extensive use of advanced technological services that help us find infringements. We must pursue infringers in the courts when necessary. We must support the creation of sophisticated digital image registries so that image users can find lawful copyright holders whenever they need to.
In addition, as orphan works wends its way through Congress we must make sure our legislators understand how certain provisions of the bill works will damage the visual arts and how these provisions could harm visual creativity itself by making it more difficult for creators to make a living.
PACA, ASMP, SAA, GAG and other groups have already managed to get some significant changes made to the most recent version of orphan works, but more can happen if we all work together.
Moving On To Pricing:
I believe that the entire stock photography industry, from micro stock on up, is supported by the pricing of imagery at the top of the pyramid. We all depend on a healthy rights-managed stock offering, and it is in all of our interests to protect that class of highly priced and expensive-to-produce imagery.
And, parenthetically, let me add that I personally would support the creation of super rights-managed collections containing only the most fantastic and creative images from any RM library. Such "jewel box collections" could command the highest prices we have yet seen in stock photography and, thus, raise the pricing bar for the first time in many years. Exclusive by Getty Images and Corbis Outline appear to be attempts at something like this with celebrity imagery. I see no reason why we can't extend the jewel box concept to general and boutique stock collections as well.
Furthermore, the pricing of standard rights managed and royalty-free imagery must be protected in ways they are not protected today.
Too often, today's archive sales departments become the tails that wag the industry dog (pardon the cliché). Sales departments are motivated to make sales—lots of sales. What better way to guarantee a sale than to lower the price? But if the price is lowered too far, or lowered too often, overall prices go down. And then everybody loses.
Strategy radiating from every company's top level must align sales departments with the interests of the industry, which is, surprise, usually identical to the interests of each individual company and their image contributors. Simply put, we must re-learn how to say "no" to customers who want too much for too little. Not only for our own good, but for the health of our industry and, yes, even for those customers.
Wait a minute, for our customers? Don't they keep telling us that they want ever-lower prices? Of course. But they also want access to quality stock imagery produced by high-end professional photographers.
They may grumble a bit about prices and budgets and such, but if they were not willing to pay higher prices, rights-managed imagery would not remain a viable product today. Royalty-free sales are up, but rights-managed remains a very financially rewarding product.
Our clients speak with their mouths, but they vote with their pocketbooks. It is clear that there is much money to be spent on the highest quality (and highest priced) imagery. Lets not leave that money on the table.
It pains me to say that the relationships that exist between stock distributors and image suppliers have never been as tenuous as they are today. This is truer at the top of the industry than at the bottom.
The micro stock suppliers often do a significantly better job of communicating with, and meeting the emotional needs of their photographers. Micro stock's community-based approach provides a mechanism for better distributor-photographer communications and for much better links between the photographers themselves. The rest of us can learn a lot from these young companies.
Photographers, especially high-end professional freelance photographers, aren't always the easiest people to get along with. They are trained to be pushy, arrogant and domineering. Timid people don't convince CEO's to stand on top of the Seattle Space Needle or entice celebrities to pose nearly nude in a bathtub filled with roses.
Photographers can be a pain. I'm a recovering photographer myself, although some in this room might dispute that I'm in recovery.
But, for all their bravado, all their rugged-individualist posturing, they can be just as insecure as any of us—probably more so.
I'll never forget an event in 2002, when I walked the late Arnold Newman into a museum's lecture hall before his speech to art patrons. When he saw that the room wasn't packed, he started shaking and practically collapsed. Leaning on me he asked, "what's wrong, have I lost my appeal?" Of course he hadn't lost anything, the promoters had simply targeted a narrower audience. Feeling much like Arnold's dad might have felt in the situation, I told Arnold that he's loved by me and by thousands of admirers and book buyers around the world. He ate up those words. Then, I led him up front and pushed him onto the stage, where he gave one of his most engaging talks ever... to an audience of "only" a couple of hundred art buyers.
Our independent suppliers are the source of our most creative, interesting and valuable imagery. We must once again learn to treat them with the respect they deserve, not only because they deserve it, but because in the end the industry rests on their shoulders.
Think of the golden rule. Treat others with honesty and fairness. Communicate clearly and openly. Share market information generated with suppliers' images.
So where does Picture Archive Council of America fit into all this? If PACA has any value going forward (and I believe it has much value today and in the past) PACA must be the catalyst for positive change. And I'll tell you a little secret. We're already moving in this direction in a big way.
Let me review with you just a little of what we are doing. Our own Cathy Aron, PACA's Executive Director, and Cathy Sachs, Executive Director of the American Society of Picture Professionals, have organized a first-ever meeting of the leadership of 18 creative industry organizations. It will happen just over a week from now, on October 31. Think of it! Organizations representing our customers, our suppliers and other stock industry-related groups sitting at the same table searching for common ground—I hope orphan works will be at the top of the list.
In addition, we are looking into several possible opportunities to bring copyright education to the masses, including to children in the schools, which, as we all know, is where many people learn their cavalier attitude toward intellectual property.
On another front, we have convinced PLUS to adopt all but one of the metadata fields recently proposed by PACA to meet the needs of stock distributors beyond specific licensing history—needs that include whether or not model releases exist.
We are very hopeful that PLUS will quickly become an industry standard. Finally, we have revitalized our committees with some very energetic members who are already getting to work on major issues.
For example, PACA board member Michael Teaster from Getty Images heads the sub-committee on surveys. Michael has worked closely with Deutsche Bank to produce the current survey on the North American stock industry. We had incredible response to the survey. But even though a strong majority of PACA archives answered all the questions, Deutsche Bank has requested a few more weeks to complete their report, rather than presenting rushed results this weekend.
Because of this delay, and at Michael's request, we expect to release the survey results during the week of November 13th. Deutsche Bank has agreed to host a Wall-Street style conference call for PACA members. For those who can't attend the call, it will be recorded and posted on the members-only section of PACA's website.
There's much more going on. Membership committee chairperson Lauretta Dives is working with Jack Hollingsworth and seven other members on a new PACA membership drive. The potential to grow our membership is clear. Over the past two months we've been joined by our first film-only archive, by our first school member, and by our first two micro stock companies. Now we need you to help recruit new members. Send any and all interested parties—organizations that license images—Lauretta's way!
Special thanks must go to executive director Cathy Aron for processing and recruiting most of the many new members in addition to the ones mentioned above. Cathy is awesome, and we're lucky to have her. But there are so many others to thank as well, including JupiterImages' Lynn Eskenazi who put together this conference, our webmaster and master web designer Doug Dawirs, and our attorney Nancy Wolff. Nancy works tirelessly, sometimes for nickels and dimes on the dollar, vigorously supporting the legal interests of every one of us.
Unfortunately, we do not have time for a love fest around our volunteer help today. Please check the badges everybody is wearing, and when you see something like "committee chair" or "executive committee" or "past president", give that person a hug and say "Thanks!" Every volunteer is working hard, and enjoying their involvement with PACA.
To be truly effective, PACA must represent companies from all facets of the stock photography industry and from all continents of the world. We need your help to convince these folks to join us.
However, it is not enough to grow our numbers; we must also deepen our level of involvement. We need each of you in this room and all those members who could not make it to this meeting. We need a new level of participation from our international members.
I challenge all of you to make a greater commitment to PACA—to join in and help. Tomorrow afternoon we will pass around our committee list. We will ask you to put your name next committees you are willing to join. You won't regret it.
We also need to reach out to other organizations with concerns similar to our own. The differences between PACA and ASMP or SAA, for example, are far fewer than our shared interests. We all want a healthy, stable industry, don't we? We must cooperate.
Like our industry as a whole, PACA stands at a crossroads. We can grow and seek partnerships with those who share our concerns, or we can drift down a path of relative insignificance.
I'll leave you with this thought: reaching out to others is not always easy, especially when there is a history of distrust. But I assure you, the alternative is much worse. Only by working together can turn the tide and confront the hurricane-forces head on. The choice is, of course, ours. We choose to stand united. Join us!
PACA'S INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN KEY WEST A GREAT SUCCESS!
By Chris Ferrone/PACA PR Chairperson
Over 280 representatives from 127 companies and over 35 countries attended PACA's 11th Annual International Conference in the warm climes of Key West's Casa Marina Resort Hotel, Florida for October 21 to the 23rd. This year, PACA set up its marketing Hub, the table area where companies can display their wares and meet with prospective partners, in an air-conditioned tent on the beach, just a few yards from the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Dining and seating areas around the resort's pools and beach area made for convenient meeting places throughout the conference. Within this beach-vacation atmosphere, the attendees accomplished what they came to do, network with industry colleagues and join seminars and discussion groups on various industry-related subjects.
The conference kicked off with a mesmerizing presentation by Meg Asaro and Karen D'Silva of Spark, a consulting firm for commercial photographers. D'Silva and Asaro examined the ways in which stock photographers need to take into account the demographic, psychological and emotional characteristics of the market-place when planning a shoot. They reviewed print and television advertisements and discussed how subtle yet essential elements help deliver the advertiser's message to its intended audience.
Other highlights of the program was a revealing panel discussion about the micro-stock sector of the industry with representatives from four micro-stock companies, iStockphoto, Fotolia, Dreamstime, and Lucky Oliver; a panel on the importance of efficient digital asset management capabilities to corporate stock photo customers; and a lively discussion of the trend toward leading stock photo companies having more wholly-owned content and its impact on the industry.
After shorter discussion group sessions on Orphan Works, meta-data standards and the progress of the Picture Licensing Universal System (PLUS), PACA announced Las Vegas will be the venue for its next International Conference in 2007.
MESSAGE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM CHAIR
This meeting could not happen without the hard work and dedication of all the volunteers who made this program possible. In particular, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Cathy Aron, PACA Executive Director, as well as the program committee: Gina Bringman, Carissa Fair, Jack Hollingsworth, Sonia Wasco, Robert Groves, Ruth Ritzema and of course our PACA President Roger Ressmeyer! Thank you all very much for the time you have given on behalf of PACA and its members.
I want to give a special thanks to all the speakers who gave their time to help make this event happen:
Meg Asaro and Karen D'Silva from SPARK
Joe Barrett, GoGo Images
Bonnie Beacher, McGraw-Hill Education
Jeff Burke, PACA Immediate Past-President/PLUS Coalition
Patrick Donehue, Corbis
Serban Enache, Dreamstime
Chris Ferrone, PACA Past-President/Matton Images
Sarah Fix, Blend Images
Jack Hollingsworth, jackhollingsworth.com
Melinda Lee Patelli, Pearson Education
Roger Ressmeyer, PACA President/Science Faction Images
Jeff Sedlik, PLUS Coalition
Michael Teaster, Getty Images
Oleg Tcheltzoff, Fotolia
Nancy Wolff, PACA Legal Counsel
Bryan Zmijewski/Lucky Oliver
And another special thanks to our generous meeting sponsors:
Friday Night Opening Reception: 40260.com
Saturday Night Cocktail Party: Image Source Ltd
Marketing Hub Refreshments: Corbis
Sunday Night Cocktails: Creativity Magazine
Cooler Bags: Getty Images
Beach Safes: Science Faction Images
T-Shirts: Image Source Ltd
I hope you enjoyed the program we put together for you! We need and appreciate any feedback, both positive and negative, as it will help us better prepare for 2007.
PACA International Conference Committee Chair
Comstock Images Collection Director, Jupiterimages
SPARK-NEW AGE OF STOCK INFORMATION: CONTENT MEETS CONTEXT
Presented by Karen D'Silva & Meg Asaro/SPARK
Karen D'Silva and Meg Asaro, co-founders of SPARK, were perhaps the ideal kick off for the 2006 PACA International Conference. Their energetic and enthusiastic presentation provided real world examples of how picture agencies can take better control of their image collections. By examining the world around us and identifying the emerging trends and concepts that make consumers tick, agencies can successfully mold and shape their content to meet the needs and trends of the marketplace in what D'Silva and Asaro call "Smart Forecasting."
Traditionally, the power of the marketplace has been with the marketers, but according to D'Silva and Asaro, there has been a power shift to the consumer. Consumers are demanding more services and products that tap into a sort of "collective individuality"—an ability to use their products as a sign of self-expression. Apple was the first computer brand to recognize and tap into this trend by offering a variety of computer color options to the consumer. Volkswagen was also shown as an early example of a product promoted as a form of self-expression... its unique shape and design is promoted as the "people's car" and a unique car for unique drivers.
This trend towards consumer self-expression is just one example that D'Silva and Asaro provided as way of demonstrating their concept of "smart forecasting." By using branding tools such as Demographics, Emotional Drives, Psychographic Profiling, and Notions, an agency or photographer can successfully track trends and produce images that fit in today's marketplace. It is essentially doing creative research with a marketer's perspective.
Demographics is perhaps the most widely tossed around word in the branding tool bundle and are simply based on information such as age, color, address and income (Generation X, Boomers, "Grays"). Second, Emotional Drives are more inherent in what it is to be a human in today's world—"What does it mean to be a young female teen?" Third, Psychographic Profiling is used more to study lifestyle choices. People are grouped according to interests and personal tastes such as hobbies, TV shows, shopping habits, etc. Fourth, Notions tend to be "themes" or relevant ideas of the times that attract the consumer. A current Notion is the idea of going "green" which can be seen in everything from the popularity of Farmers' Markets and organic food to television shows such as "My Name is Earl" promoting the idea of good will and Karma.
D'Silva and Asaro believe that through careful creative research, they can not only track trends but also provide an agency or photographer with a matrix that will help them make better choices about photo selection or direction, teach them to be able to recognize new and emerging trends themselves and develop strategies for Smart Forecasting.
DAM-DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT: WHY YOUR CLIENTS WANT IT
Presented By Bonnie Beacher/McGraw-Hill & Melinda Lee Patelli/Pearson Education
As publishers continue to adjust to a digital environment, their need to deal with image organization and collections continues to change as well. In this panel, Bonnie Beacher (Senior Director of Contracts, Copyright and Permissions at McGraw-Hill) and Melinda Lee Patelli (Director of Image Resource Center at Pearson Education) help provide the audience with a better understanding of what their respective systems are like and the direction they are likely to go.
As Director of the Image Resource Center at Pearson Education, Melinda Lee Patelli provided a break down of the different departments such as Research, Permissions, Source Required Approvals, Traffic, Tracking, Price negotiation and Reporting. The main image system for these departments is the Pearson Asset Library (PAL). In 2002 this collection of images was changed to a secure web based format. In addition to the images already in their system from archived research and use, specific vendors were invited to upload content to be used as a possible source of images. Today, the collection consists of 1.8 million images from over 22,000 sources. The entire PAL system provides information for each image ranging from metadata provided by the supplier to specific information on if the image is from a vendor in the Pearson Preferred Vendor (PPV) system.
Likewise, Bonnie Beacher with McGraw-Hill also explained their need for creating a Digital Asset Management system which began simply with the need to accommodate the digital publishing process. The end product is increasingly becoming electronic in nature. Also, having images available internally online allows for a global management, customization of the product, and the flexibility for additional ancillary demands. Other benefits are the obvious issue of keeping costs down, faster turnaround, and the ability to create new revenue through the "re-purposing" of images.
Questions from the audience were focused on the requirements that either company might have for having images "ingested" into the databases. The basic requirement from both companies is to have metadata information embedded with the image (preferably XMP): Title, Description, copyright year, copyright holder, restrictions, and any displayed credit requirements. Also, the audience was very interested in the idea of agencies being able to upload content directly to Pearson's PAL. Although Patelli acknowledged that they are still accepting uploads, determining who should upload is still in the works and possibly their database system may change in the future to more of "portal" like software that will seek out images on vendors sites rather than ingesting photos into the Pearson network.
GLOBAL IMPACT OF WHOLLY-OWNED CONTENT: NAVIGATING THROUGH TURBULENT WATERS
Moderated By Jack Hollingsworth
Based on the success of the annual meeting's wholly owned content panel, this year PACA provided an encore discussion moderated by Jack Hollingsworth on the pro's and con's of wholly owned content and the emerging advantages and disadvantages of this trend.
Beginning with Michael Teaster with Getty Images, Hollingsworth inquired if Teaster thought it was a "slippery slope" to have wholly owned content along side traditional photographer contributions. Teaster explained that a stock agency is much like a financial stock portfolio in that it is in your best interest to have a varied "portfolio" of image content. Wholly owned content is simply "one vehicle" that provides flexibility for the client. Hollingsworth also pressed about the possibility of wholly owned content being at odds with creativity. Teaster once again contradicted this by arguing that photographers that shoot wholly owned content are professionals that are inspired and creative. There is no reason that their personal vision and creativity would be stifled.
Hollingsworth directed additional questions towards Patrick Donehue with Corbis by asking if wholly owned content is ranked differently in searches with Corbis. Donehue replied that image search results are homogeneous and based on what "clients want to see." Having wholly owned content at the top doesn't help the client. What is important is the client finding the photos they need. Hollingsworth also inquired about the process for handling wholly owned content in the production department—is it handled in the same way as royalty based images? Donehue replied that wholly owned is channeled in the same pipeline as royalty images and handled agnostically.
Hollingsworth moved onto Lynn Eskenazi with Jupiter Images by acknowledging that that Jupiter has been in the wholly owned content game for a long time and asked if the issues of today are any different from when they started. Eskenazi replied that virtually nothing has changed other than methods such as digital requirements. The entire basis of wholly owned content, according to Eskenazi, is the need for certain photos fast and that Jupiter cannot "wait for them to come to us." Eskenazi explained that wholly owned content will continue to play a bigger part with Jupiter but will not replace royalty based imagery. Owning images allows them to move the images where they need them. Eskenazi's advice is to "do your research" and understand the market, have a business plan, take your time with your shoot and do it according to your plan.
Hollingsworth directed the question of market research to Joe Barrett with GoGo Images. Barrett explained that a lot of GoGo Images photos are multi-cultural influenced, so a lot of research goes into understanding cultures and their influences. Interestingly, Barrett commented that only about 5% of the imagery in existence is multi-culturally based and yet 65% of the world population is "ethnic."
Finally, Hollingsworth addressed Sarah Fix (Blend Images) and asked what is Blend's official position on encouraging or discouraging photographers to shoot wholly owned work? Fix replied that as long as it's "fair and equitable," wholly owned content is fine but, unfortunately, there is a huge range. Wholly owned content must be motivated by research and fair compensation. Hollingsworth also asked with all the lower end types of image models, is there more potential for higher end rights-managed imagery? Fix agreed that, yes, demand for high quality and high-end imagery has potential for greater demand.
THE ANNUAL PACA MEETING: April 6-8, 2006 (REVIEW)
Meeting Reviews and Presentations
ANNUAL PACA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: Oct 14-16, 2005 (REVIEW)
Conference Reviews and Presentations