Internet Opportunities for Creatives

Posted on 10/2/1998 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



October 2, 1998

In July TrendWatch published its fifth semi-annual survey of creative markets and
its first attempt to research creative activities relative to the Internet. They
found that 98% of graphic designers and 89% of advertising agencies are doing web
page design.

When graphic designers and advertising agencies were asked about planned investment
in the next six months 48% said they intended to "buy" stock photo images. This
probably means RF discs because hardware products were also included in the question.
Some respondents may have considered the licensing of rights to stock images as "buying".

Nearly one-quarter (23%) of the respondents are looking to purchase
digital cameras for production work. This includes 29% photographers and
28% illustrators.

Business Conditions... Business conditions are especially good for advertising
agencies, as 46% reported conditions to be "excellent, better than
six months ago." Also reporting "excellent" conditions were magazine
and book publishers (56%).

Illustrators and Photographers seem to be struggling. Only 33% of the commercial
photographers and illustrators report "excellent" conditions. Twenty-three
percent of photographers denote business as poor or much worse.

Challenges... Internet related challenges are on the rise. For corporate
designers, the second most important business challenge is managing web
production (52%). Managing print production was the number two challenge
for magazine and book publishers (65%) and catalog publishers (65%).
More than half of all publishers chose "using the Internet more effectively"
as the challenge du jour.

Sales Opportunities... The number one sales opportunity for creative firms
is "collateral print projects" (43%). This jumps to 77% among ad agencies
and 60% among graphic designers. "Direct mail projects" comes in second,
at 39% overall, followed by "Internet web pages creative, design" at 34%.

Internet... This report is also the first survey of creative professional
Internet activities. More than half (58%) of respondents have their own
web sites. This is highest among magazine and book publishers (85%),
followed by advertising agencies (79%). Even photographers and illustrators
are in the act (37% and 25%, respectively).

Most shops leave hosting to the pros. Of those with sites, hosting is about
evenly split among those who have their own servers and those who use an
outside webmaster or an Internet service provider. Agencies are the most
likely to have their own servers, with 57% giving this answer. More magazine
and book publishers are more likely to host their sites with an Internet
webmaster/Internet service bureau, while designers are more likely to have
them hosted by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

More than half of the designers (51%) work on client web sites to re-purpose
existing materials for site content - higher than any other market.
Larger shops do more web-site strategy than smaller ones (84% for shops
with 20-49 creative professionals compared to 53% for those with 1-4 creative
professionals). This is also true for developing web site architecture,
where 75% of the larger shops (50+ creative seats) responded positively
compared to 33% of the smaller shops (1-4 seats).

One encouraging sign is that the number of people employed in the creative
community is growing at nearly 10% over '97. Many creative professionals
who moved into the production side of the business 5-10 years ago may be
moving back! It is not clear whether this growth is because a lot of the
duties that used to be assigned to production houses are now being handled
by the creative shops.

The percentage increase in 1998 over 1997 in various segments of the
industry is as follows:

  Advertising Agencies   


  Catalog Publishers   




  Commercial Photographers   


  Graphic Designers   


  Corporate Designers   


This comprehensive report
also has data on capital investments, stock photography, magazine readership,
and perception ratings of industry vendors. TrendWatch reports have gained
increased respect as the foundation for
market-sensitive decision making. These reports have earned the reputation
of containing, conservative reliable and timely market forecasts for the
graphic arts marketplace. For details on how to acquire
the report and become a TrendWatch sponsor, please contact Dr. Joseph Webb
(401-568-9899), Mr. Jim Whittington (415-380-8561) or by

Copyright © 1998 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, 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:  


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