Monday, March 30, 2009

Alamy Calamity

Alamy, the 15million plus image stock library, is a big supplier to the UK press. Or rather, it was.

Some newspapers have reduced the number of Alamy shots they use by 70 per cent according to Alamy's CEO James West.

UK newspapers are haemorrhaging readers and staff. Advertising revenues have fallen dramatically. Print sales are falling fast. Online versions of newspapers are yet to make money.

It's only going to get worse.

And the photographer is about to feel the pinch (like he hasn't been feeling it already).

Unlike most photo agencies, Alamy does not run a contract system. So they have been the first to be excluded by cash-strapped picture desks who have been told to only use photos from fixed-fee subscription agencies like Reuters.

Their solution is to work on a new subscription service priced below what a particular newspaper paid Alamy in total over the previous 12 months. But the new subscription service will offer unlimited picture downloads.

Simply, that means revenue due to the photographer is likely to be severely dented.

Alamy CEO states that some picture prices will be just below those of 2008 but others 'might fall by up to 50% or perhaps even more.'

If you see any photographers out there actually making a profit, give them an award.

I congratulate myself on becoming a master of not one but two dying industries.

NOTE: See the Alamy blog for more information