A Career In Visual Communications

Posted on 3/11/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

If you are a young person who wants a career in visual communications where are the opportunities likely to be?

They are least likely to be in print publishing. Last week we reported that Time Warner is preparing to get rid of some of its magazines due to declining revenue and profits. Here is how the company’s 2012 revenue and operating income broke out, along with the percent of increase or decrease in each segment of their business compared to 2011.

  Revenue Operating Income
Networks $14.2 billion, +5% $4.9 billion, +10%
Film and Television $12.0 billion, -5% $1.2 billion, -3%
Publishing $3.4 billion, -7% $0.5 billion, -20%
      Total $28.7 billion $6.1 billion

The trends are clear. It is easy to see why investors want to get out of the print publishing business.  Print publishing is primarily funded by, and dependent upon, advertising.  Advertisers are, and have been for some time, moving away from print to Network programming, and secondarily to cable programming that to a large extent recycles what has been produced for the networks.

Does this mean there will be more opportunities to sell video clips for television ads?  It is unclear, but it seems advertisers are spending more to run the same ads more frequently than to create a greater number of new ads.

There may be more lower budget projects for the Internet, but it is unclear whether these will make use of clips or more frequently use material that is shot specifically for the project and closely tied to the product or service being advertised.

In my opinion the future of video is in telling compelling stories, not just capturing pretty images. You’ve got to find a way to tell a story with sound, narration and images. Creators need to work on all these skills. If you can’t do them all yourself then you need to put together a team that can – and find a way for the team to work in a cost effective way.

Growth In Video, But Not Movies

The Economist has an interesting report on the decline of the motion picture business and the continued rise of TV.

Between 2007 and 2011 per-tax profits of the five largest studios (Disney, Universal, Paramont, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros) fell around 40%. They represented less than 10% of their parent companies profits and that share is expected to decline to around 5% by 2020. Between 2006 and 2012 the six big studios cut the number of films they produced each year from 14 to 54%. They released a total of 134 films (average 22 per company) last year
In 2011 American cinemas sold 1.28 billion tickets, the smallest number since 1995. That number was up to 1.36 billion in 2012, but the added revenue was not enough to offset the increased costs of production. The share of Americans who attend a cinema at least once a month declined from 30% in 2000 to 10% in 2011.

Instead of visiting movie theaters consumers are spending more of their time watching television re-runs interspersed with advertising. Advertising revenue and the revenue from selling network shows for cable reruns are generating the profits for investors.

Copyright © 2013 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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