Backcast Revisited

Posted on 9/4/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

We recently covered creating online magazines that have a similar look and function to print magazines, and how easy and inexpensive it has become to create such digital publications with currently available technologies. Stock Index publisher Robert Prior offered a perspective that adds balance to these stories. Prior has some experience in this area, and his very thoughtful comment on "The Backcast Concept" suggests that some of the points made in the article need additional discussion.

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Jim Pickerell is founder of, 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:  


  • Bob Prior Posted Sep 6, 2009
    I think your piece reflects two points that demonstrate what is wrong with today’s fields of communication 1) everything is based on the word ‘cheap‘ rather than excellence or professionalism 2) an obsession with the internet.

    The questions that need to be asked - does it maintain and set standards, is it well produced, professionally crafted, can it do the authentic task it has been set to do – sell the produce.

    In fact you demonstrate my point when you highlight the publications Life, Paris Match, Stern and the Telegraph as being examples of the golden age of magazines.

    Why did you choose them? Wasn’t it due to the unbelievable images that populated their pages? There picture editors knew what the Wow! factor was and were committed to printing it – cost was not the only issue – selling copies was.

    OK magazine doesn’t pay $5 an image. Their photographic content costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and their circulation proves it is worth it.

    You highlight print advertising is too expensive and that advertisers are not getting the results they need. What puzzles me is where is the evidence that it is any different on the internet? We can count click-thrus or measure impressions – it’s all smoke and mirrors – the question to ask is - does it lead to sales?

    Images sell produce – if they didn’t why even bother with images on front covers of books, magazines, on retail goods – just have black squares – now that would really save money … !

    You see, I challenge the internet sells anything – it displays a product you were already aware of and enables you to purchase it easily. And it is why web publishers need all the other media tools to stimulate buyers to buy.

    As I say it’s about harnessing all the media to be interdependent., apart from having a major engine searching simultaneously over 120 stock libraries, does encourage people to order the book.

    However we also publicise the book via print ads, newsletters and expos so people will be encouraged to visit the web. They work in harmony.

    I continually get a sense on reading Pickerell’s piece that he advocates we follow, en masse, the preferences of just one group of internet users – the 20 to 30 year olds - while the buying power is proven to be higher in the over 30’s.

    The world is a big place with a lot of people who have a lot of different needs and those of us in the communications. field are responsible to offer as diverse a choice of media as possible - and not to be sucked into the current trend that the only way to survive is to put all your eggs into the internet cart.

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