395 RANDOM THOUGHTS 31
April 16, 2001
Tony Stone Is Back
Tony Stone's non-compete agreement with Getty Images has expired and you can look for him to
re-enter the industry in the near future.
There have been rumors in the industry that Tony had talks with Stock Workbook (his daughter
Sarah is Creative Director there) and that he might enter into some type of working
arrangement with them.
When I questioned him about this he responded, "I've had very tentative exploratory talks
with several people in Europe and North America. I'm most sympathetic to those who are
willing to work constructively with photographers to achieve high quality, well-edited
collections. The present size of their operations is not very relevant. Their
professionalism, dedication, and openness to fundamentally new ideas is."
He continued, "All this is part of my re-induction into my old industry - it's been
fascinating to see new ideas, for example, the emergence of portals to aggregated
collections, but disappointing to note how the online product has moved backwards by decades
to clutter, irrelevancy and redundancy, and disappointing too that the
principal concern for photographers seems to be percentages, not how much more the content
providers should be doing for them to ensure they get an impressive return on their
investment in shoots.
"In a month I will have completed my re-induction. I will have visited the most interesting
players, some old, some new, will have learnt a lot, and will then hope that the one or two
which I like best will want to work with me. I am bursting with ideas. It's far too early to
say whom I might partner with."
Advertising Spending Down
According to Publishers Information Bureau total magazine advertising pages for February 2001
were down 9.7 percent from the same period in 2000.
Newsmagazines have taken a particularly hard hit. U.S. News & World Report ran 26 ad pages
in its March 19, 2001 issue -- a drop of 51% from the 48 pages it ran on March 31, 2000. So
far this year U.S. News ad pages are down 15%; Time magazine, 11%; and Newsweek, 26%.
Analysts, advertising buyers and media executives say the rapid drop off of in advertising
spending reminds them of the early 1990's which was the worst advertising recession since
World War II. Technology advertising in magazines was down 21% in February and retail
advertising was down 34%.
Optimists point out that we're in a period of greatly compressed economic cycles. The bad
times come very fast, but the good times can return just as fast.
But with sales falling and companies pressed to make their numbers on Wall Street they cut
where it is easiest which is often advertising. Advertisers in need of cash are not buying
packages for they year as they do in the good years.
ASMP Endorses StockArtistsAlliance
Getty Images has announced a new cross-brand contract for contributing artists in their
agencies (TIB, Stone & FPG/VCG). Stock contributors from around the world have reviewed
Getty's summary outline of the contract and have expressed concerns that some of the terms
may not be in their best interests. In addition, many feel that these terms will alter the
traditional creator/agency relationship while decreasing the artists' ability to profit from
the licensing of their work.
The StockArtistsAlliance (SAA) was formed in response to there concerns.It's an
international group of Getty stock contributors (photographers and illustators) created to
disseminate vital legal analysis of contract issues and to coordinate individual legal
representation as part of an overall legal group. SAA members will be represented by a highly
respected and experienced attorney, allowing negotiations to proceed in a professional
positive and constructive atmosphere.
ASMP believes that such actions will benefit the entire stock photography industry. We
encourage and support the SAA members in their efforts to build a photographer/agent
relationship that is balanced and equitable for all parties.
Further information can be found at the SAA website -- www.StockArtistsAlliance.com.
Shoot The Messenger
A year ago I did several stories on Glencoe Publishing and their failure to pay for uses in
additional book titles. See
Story 253 ,
Story 260 ,
Story 267 .
Recently a picture researcher was talking to a Glencoe editor. The discussion turned to
copyright and a picture editor brought up the Tasini case and the recent decision in Jerry
Greenberg's case against National Geographic. The picture editor had never heard of either of
these cases. Then the researcher suggested that the editor ought to be reading Pickerell's
Pickerell, the editor had heard of. She said, "He's on our list, we can't use any of his
pictures." The researcher asked why and the editor said, "I don't know, he must of done
Nothing like getting your priorities straight. Shoot the messenger.
Book Selling Consolidation
Amazon.com Inc. and Borders Group Inc have joined forces in the internet book selling
business. This provides additional evidence that pure internet marketing companies may not be
able to survive, and that they need the experience, positioning and marketing of the "bricks
and mortar" companies.
The major competitor in the book selling business is Barnes and Noble which has developed a
more effective web strategy than Borders, and also has a solid "bricks and mortar" operation.
In the stock photography field pure Internet operations like Speedpix.com, Alamy.com,
WorkbookStock.com and StockMedia.net should take note.
RightSpring Misses Financing
In this negative economic climate RightSpring has been unable to get adequate bridge
financing to continue its plans for a search engine for stock photography. In March they
launched a site to license music. They are now looking for a merger partner in order to
advance the photography aspect of their site and are considering licensing their software.
While 86% of the web sites are composed in English, 50% of web surfers speak something else.
Be Careful What You Ask For?
A photographer recently pointed out that Stock Agencies used to complain that photographers
were not smart businessmen. They claimed that photographer's needed to approach the
production of stock images as a business, not an art.
So many photographers started doing what the agencies suggested. They started weighing their
returns against costs, and carefully examining from a business point of view the logic of
what agencies were asking them to do. They started expecting agencies to be as efficient in
their accounting, record keeping, and methods of operation as the photographers were
As a result many photographers are now coming to the conclusion after examining stock
photography as a business, that it is not very viable.