Alamy To Offer Subscriptions to Newspaper Clients

Posted on 3/19/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Alamy has informed its contributors that this quarter it is seeing sales declines in sales to newspaper customers, ranging from 30% to 70% since last year. Major U.K. papers are going through a painful transition period exacerbated by the recession.

Alamy is the only large U.K.-based imagery supplier not offering a subscription scheme to newspapers; thus, it is being squeezed out of this market by competitors. The company’s largest newspaper customer has been ordered to only download images from agencies with which the paper has subscription deals in place.

To keep their newspaper revenues alive, Alamy has decided that it must quickly move to offer subscriptions. The company intends to price subscriptions at or below the total expenditure by the newspapers for the previous year and to offer an unlimited number of downloads. Wherever possible, Alamy intends to allocate revenue to contributors based on usage, but in cases where usage cannot be accurately tracked, the company may be forced to divide funds based on number of downloads.

It is likely that many more images will be downloaded for consideration than are actually used. Thus, there will be cases where some photographers receive compensation for images that were never used, while those whose images are eventually used may not receive as much as they would otherwise be entitled on an actual use basis. Overall, the amounts paid under the subscription scheme seem likely to be much lower than they have been in the past.

Thus far, the subscription offering targets only U.K. newspapers. It is not clear what proportion of total Alamy sales they represent.

Company chief executive officer James West said: “It is hard to judge in advance what impact this will have on the average price per image for this market. At one end of the scale, prices will remain at or slightly below 2008 prices, whereas at the other end, prices might fall by up to 50%, or perhaps even more. My expectation is that we will see a mixture of both.”

“We face a stark choice,” he added. “Either we adapt to match the competition, or we accept that U.K. newspaper revenue will continue to decline sharply over 2009.”

Copyright © 2009 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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