Editorial Photography In France

Posted on 2/20/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Is there a future for editorial photographers in France? France used to be one of the most vibrant markets in the world for editorial photography. That seems to be rapidly dying, not because of a lack of French publications (See chart) that want to use editorial pictures. Some just don’t want to pay for the images they use.

In November, the combined outstanding invoices older than 60 days for two major media groups - Le Monde and Altice Media Group –totaled in excess of 500,000 €. Altice Medias owns Libération and L'Express. Le Monde owns Télérama and Courrier International. Some of the oldest invoices have gone unpaid for up to two years.

It is also important to note that not all French publications take exceeding long to pay. Le Figaro is mentioned as being a "good payer" and treating their photographers well.

This is not a new problem, but things have been getting steadily worse for some time. Back in 2008 the French government passed the “Law of Modernization of the Economy” that was supposed to fix the problem of late payments. Shorter payment deadlines were imposed and penalties up to 75,000 € were established. However, this had little effect, at least in the press sector, because agencies were too afraid to lose their clients.

It is important to note that the French press sector is subsidized by the government. Stock agencies complain that none of this support trickles down to them.

In 2014 in the "Code of professional practices between publishers, news agencies and photographers," a mediation mission by the Ministry of Culture laid down in Article 22 very precise time limits for payments. In most cases payment are supposed to be made within 30 days of use of an image.

In November 2016 the agencies listed below sent a letter the French Ministry of Culture and the major media in Paris announcing their plan to “cease all distribution of images to newspaper titles and groups whose irresponsible behavior threatens their existence.” Some newspapers have paid but according to sources there are still difficulties with Le Nouvel Observateur.

Some of the small to medium agencies and photographer cooperatives in the group decided to boycott the non-payers and are not provide photos to them anymore. While this may sound tough for several of the agencies listed editorial is no longer a major part of their turnover.

BRIDGEMAN Images/Rue des Archives
Agence CIRIC
DIVERGENCE Images (collectif of photographers)
GAMMA-RAPHO, H&K, JBV News, JLP Photo Agency, KCS Presse
KEMPINAIRE Millereau Sport Presse, NEWS Pictures, PHANIE, SIPA Press

Big names such as the Getty Images and Agence France Presse (AFP) did not sign the letter. However, they are also participating in the boycott. They don't have the cash problems as the smaller agencies and chose to deal with the matter on their own. It is rumored that AFP has invoices for more than 500,000 € that have been outstanding for more than 60 days.

Copyright © 2017 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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