More convergence. Another sign that photography and electronics are becoming ever more co-mingled is the announcement that the annual convention of the Photo Marketing Association where venders have routinely announced new products and displayed their wares will now be collocated with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In the past, PMA has occurred in the spring; however this year it was scheduled to be in September and was renamed “CliQ.” Now we’re told that it will be slipped even further (see announcement here) to coincide with CES January 10-13, 2012. Making these large conventions work for both organizers and manufacturers has become increasingly challenging with the huge growth of mobile internet communication flow and the harsh economic conditions of the last several years. Whether this schedule adjustment will also help accommodate disruptions caused by the catastrophe in Japan remains to be seen.
Image rights erosion. Those who believe their photographs to have actual potential value have watched with chagrin and dismay as the market for images has drastically changed in the last several years. Microstock opened the floodgates to those willing to accept miniscule payments for individual pictures and helped create a mindset among sometimes less than discriminating picture buyers that almost anything could be bought for next to nothing. In addition, crowdsourcing has fundamentally altered the business models of numerous major print publications that were previously photographer-friendly and in the process slashed the need to pay for images at all. Even further, major stock agencies have voraciously acquired and absorbed smaller agencies—many with long-term sterling reputations—and then established new policies that squeeze contributors unmercifully to maximize short-term profit. The latest example of rights erosion is referenced here where one of the two largest stock photo companies is forcing new contract terms that will further dilute contributor’s say in and control over how the rights to the images they’ve created are managed, trimming even more their share of eventual revenue. Combine this race to the bottom in stock photography with the prevailing 21st century perception that everything on the internet is free and available for use in any way desired and the outlook for deriving revenue from imaging is growing bleaker by the day. It’s a changed world.