Random Thoughts 39

Posted on 9/25/2001 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



September 25, 2001

Implications of September 11th

The tragedy of September 11th calls for re-evaluation of the way we live and work, and it will
certainly bring about many changes. It may lead to a revival of demand for editorial
photography, particularly of the Arab world, about which many Americans are poorly informed.

While there will be increased demand for military coverage, stories that visually illustrate the
economic and social conditions in the Arab world will be equally important if U.S. citizens, and
others in the world, are to have a clear understanding of what we should do and how we all
should move ahead. The big question is whether publications will find the space to run such

Photographers who have specialized in travel related photographs are likely to be among the
first to suffer a falloff in income.

Marriott Corporation has announced that they will be cutting advertising as well as making major
staff cuts. In Washington D.C. some of the major hotels are down to 20% occupancy in a season
when they are normally fully booked. Most U.S. airlines are cutting schedules and laying off
employees, and it seems likely that they will also cut way back on advertising, at least in the
near term.

Many conventions are being cancelled, and some business have put a general hold on all business

As the airlines, hotels, and other travel related users begin to dig themselves out of red ink,
they will will have little choice but to cut back on print advertising. This could mean that
travel related publications will get thinner and have less space for editorial content.

In the immediate future it probably also means less travel related direct mail promotions as
companies try to get their budgets under control. Eventually, the survivors will need to
increase their promotional campaigns in an effort to try to get a bigger share of the shrinking
pie. But for the time being expect stock photo sales of this type of material to diminish.

Good News On Ad Pages And Revenue

Ad Week has reported some good news for ad pages and ad revenues at


The top ten in order are Fortune, InStyle, Vanity Fair, Maxim, Fast Company, ESPN, Martha
Stewart Living, Marie Claire, YAHOO! Internet Life and Teen People. Maxim's revenue was up 152%
and Fast Company was up 105%. Several of the leaders had increases in the 35% to 55% range.

With the significant exception of Maxim (47.8%) most of the circulation figures for the last
half of 2000 were down slightly when compared with 1999 figures.

On the other hand even when sales are up some companies still cry poverty. Time/AOL has warned
that earnings will fall short of expectations, but:

  • People's ad revenue is $723.7 million up 1.4% over last year,

  • Time's revenue is $661.1 million up 0.4%,

  • Sports Illustrated's revenue is $649.6 million up 5.8 percent, and

  • Fortune's revenue was $476.8 million up 46.6 percent.

The problem is that sales are short of the $40 billion dollar gain Time/AOL was hoping for, and
earnings before taxes will only grow by 20% rather than the predicted 30%.

If investor expectations were a little more reasonable companies like Time/AOL might be able to
pay reasonable fees to those who provide the content they sell -- but don't expect anything to
change unless suppliers are prepared to put up a massive fight.

Getty Contract Deadline

Getty's photographer contract deadline has been extended once again to October 1st, but it looks
like this may be the final extension.

When compared with the original document released in March, significant improvements have been
made from the photographer's point of view. These are in the areas of: sensitive uses, audit,
liability, E&O insurance, retained rights & paper products, moral rights, composites, fine art,
foreign tax credit, deductions for cancellations, Getty Brand insolvency, location of
arbitration, governing law, no royalty-free use, no Getty end products, no personal liability
for trusts and corporations and assignability of contracts to such entities.

With these changes many photographers may agree to sign the contract. However, there are also a
number of areas in the contract where there have been no changes, and these issues still concern
many photographers. They include: percentages, catalog charges, home territories, and the
elimination of the artist-agency relationship.

$11,000 Royalty Free Sale

In the last Selling Stock 427
we talked about a $17,000 sale made by Corbis of a Royalty Free image. Since then we have
heard of another sale of an RF image for $1l,000. This sale was made by a photographer.

In this case, an advertising agency had selected a number of images from an online site and got
approval for their use in an ad. Most of the images selected were Rights Protected, but one was
Royalty Free. The agency needed a larger file than the RF one available, and thus they needed to
get access to the film.

The photographer had the film, and had rights to license any usage of the film. Given, the usage
that the agency intended to make of the image the photographer initially quoted a figure higher
than $11,000 -- despite the fact that both the photographer and the agency, knew that the images
was available as RF. They negotiated to the $11,000 figure.

The agency did not need any type of exclusivity, and was willing to pay this amount given the
use they intended to make of the image.

It is believed that the agency didn't initially set out to select RF images, but instead looked
at a site that offered both, and picked the images that worked best for their project. The price
of the image was not a critical factor because this project had a budget that allowed for
purchasing Rights Protected images. They would have been happy to pay $160 for use of the image
if that was all that was asked for, but $11,000 was reasonable considering the usage being made,
so they didn't balk at paying that amount.

Changes At Index Stock

Index Stock has been laying off employees and is now down to a staff of 62.

Among those let go were Lindsey Nicholson, Director of Photographer Relations and Chris Ferrone,
VP of International Sales. Ferrone will be starting up a new agency that will represent the
content of various international suppliers in the United States. He can be contacted by e-mail
at: chris_ferrone@hotmail.com.

PhotoPlus Will Be Held In New York As Scheduled

Photo District News (PDN) has announced that PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention
Center in New York City will be held as scheduled on November 1-3, 2001.

Lauren Wendle, Director of PDN Events said, "Our heart filled prayers and condolences go out to
the victims, families and friends who were impacted by this horrific act. We can't begin to
express the sorrow and outrage we share, but there is comfort and strength knowing that we are
united as one."

" We have no plans to cancel PhotoPlus Expo 2001 - to do so would allow a victory for the people
that committed these unspeakable atrocities. We truly appreciate the support we have received
from the photography community regarding this decision. Be assured that we are monitoring the
security and will notify you of any developments. We know that the fabric under which we will
meet will be different and changed, but we are committed to making PhotoPlus Expo better than

PACA has also announced that the International Conference, also be held in New York, and will
occur immediately following PhotoPlus Expo on November 4th and 5th. It will be in the Marriott
Marque Hotel.

Officials have said that the World Trade Center clean up, massive as it is, is expected to be
complete in about 60 days, but all this activity will be taking place many miles south of the
locations of these two events.

More On The $135,000 Image

A story is traveling around Seattle that the sale for Chuck O'Rear's $135,000 image
(See Story 427)
was to
Microsoft, and that it was for a landscape image. Keep in mind that O'Rear lives in Napa Valley
and did a major shoot for Corbis several years ago on wine and wine production. Best guess for
getting a look at this image is to keep an eye on Microsoft advertising in the near future.

Customers Go To Internet First And Want Smaller Print Catalogs

A recent Corbis Stock Market survey determined that the majority of art buyers and graphic
designers in the U.S. go to the internet first when looking for images.

The survey showed that catalogs are an important tool still used for searching and brain
storming, but customers prefer frequent smaller catalogs that are easier to store, simpler to
browse and more user friendly than the larger, occasional ones. Stock image users are impressed
by catalogs that offer fresh, innovative imagery and inspire them with new layouts and

One question for photographers who pay to have their images in such catalogs is will these
catalogs increase sales for the specific images shown, or just the brand? Under the new Corbis
agreement photographers will not pay any catalog fees, but under the old Stock Market agreements
photographers are still charged catalog fees. It is unclear whether TSM photographers will be
charged catalog fees, if they haven't signed the new Corbis agreement.

New York Times Creates Blacklist

The New York Times has circulated an internal memo to assignment editors not to accept freelance
pieces from the original named plaintiffs in the Tasini lawsuit, and those in the Authors Guild
suit against the Times.

These include: Jonathan Tasini, Barabar Belejack, Mary Kay Blakely, Barbara Garson, Daniel
Lazare, Margot Mifflin, Joan Oleck, Sonia Jaffe Roggins, Lindsy Van Gelder, Davis S. Whitford,
H. Bruce Franklin, Derek Bell and Lynn Brenner.

Clearly, if you are not willing to submit to the Times stealing your work, then you can't work
for them.

The National Writers Union is asking all creatives to e-mail Michaela Williams at:
mickey@newyorktimes.com and express your outrage at The Times' action. They suggest that you ask
her to justify The Times' policies and remind her of the discredited and immoral blacklists of
the 1950's. Make the point that blacklists are contrary to freedom of expression--an ideal
newspapers should live by.

Copyright © 2001 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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