Editorial Market Change

Posted on 11/10/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Recently, a European asked me how the editorial market for photography has changed in the U.S. the last 10 years.

First, gross revenue for U.S. newspapers has declined about 60% from $49.3 billion in 2006 to $19.9 billion in 2014. As revenue has declined the space for editorial content, including pictures, has declined.

The digital portion of that revenue has grown from $2.7 billion in 2006 to $3.5 billion in 2014.

More and more consumers get the information they need online rather than in print, but advertising revenue has not kept pace and there is almost no circulation revenue because most consumers believe that if information is available online it should be free.

There is an increasing demand for photos online. Publications publish more images but the amount they can afford to pay for these images is a fraction of what they pay for images used in print.

ASNE's annual newsroom census found that there were 5,894 photographers, artists and videographers employed in 2005 and 2,806 in 2015, a 52% decline in staff positions. More and more writers are expected to provide illustrations for their stories.

ZenithOptimedia has found that time spent reading newspapers in print had fallen 24 percent since 2010 and projected further declines by 2017.

CareerCast rates various jobs annually in terms of desirability. In their 2015 Jobs Rated Report photojournalist was the 195th most desirable occupation out of 200 considered. The average salary, in the U.S., is under $30,000 annually. At 200, newspaper reporters hold the title of worst occupation, just below lumberjacks.

Magazine Sales

Magazine sales are not much better. In June a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report said consumer magazine revenue will be essentially flat this year at nearly $24.6 billion compared with 2014, and that by 2019 revenue will only climb to approximately $24.7 billion. During this time ad rates are expected to rise by one-half of one percent while circulation rates are expected to fall by a like amount.

The report said, "The future industry outlook remains challenging, as burgeoning digital revenue only just counteracts the declines in print," but digital ad revenue is expected to eclipse print by 2019.

In September National Geographic was sold to Rupert Murdock’s 21st Century Fox. At its peak in the late 1980s domestic circulation of National Geographic Magazine was 12 million copies. That has declined to 3.5 million subscribers in the U.S. and another 3 million abroad through non-English-language editions.

Some specialist magazines that serve a niche and can provide targeted advertising at a lower cost to a group of people with a special interest and doing well, but they tend to pay lower prices for their editorial content.

Nevertheless, more and more young photographers are attracted to the “glamour” of the business and are willing to work for peanuts – at least for a while – in an effort to establish a reputation.

Copyright © 2015 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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