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I’ll wait and see before I run out and say “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”. Often times what reality comes to be is not as bad as what we imagine. 
When and “if” something detrimental to my own personal income here happens, I’ll deal with it then. No sense in borrowing trouble.

 

But I do believe we can, if possible, broaden our horizons as a fall-back if those horizons fall within our skill-set.  It will help cushion the blow if something detrimental does happen in the future.

In other words, don’t worry about today and tomorrow necessarily, but plan ahead while we can still think clearly. I’ve found worry does nothing positive, but on the negative, causes gray hair, anxiety and ulcers.
Betty

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Just to add a note of commercial realism to this debate:- 

Business of whatever kind requires a willing seller & a willing buyer who agree to trade at a mutually acceptable price. Alamy (now PA Media)  owes me no favours and likewise I am in no way beholden to them. It's the law of supply and demand. Excess supply = lower prices. Shortage of supply = higher prices. It's not rocket science.
If as we all seem to accept, the market in which we operate is saturated with huge quantities of similar images it is inevitable that market prices fall.
The answer is to bale out or to submit only niche images or to ply our trade elsewhere, or arguably a combination of all of these.
It is an immutable fact that the market cannot be wrong and however wonderful. time consuming and unique we believe our images are - the market will  ultimately determine this.
I love taking photographs and will probably continue to submit images for the time being to Alamy /P A Media.
However, if there comes a point where the cost to me of capturing, processing them and attempting to sell them proves uneconomic, I am happy to accept this (albeit with heavy heart) and move on. 
However much we rant & rave - we are in the same boat as coal miners, milkmen, shoe repairers etc. Times move on and we have to adapt or accept that our trade is no nothing more tha n a hobby, unless we can differentiate ourselves from the rank and file.
Sad indeed - but true.


 

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1 hour ago, Richard Tadman said:

 

To me the concept of critical mass in a business sense is the size that a business needs to reach in order to efficiently and competitively compete in their chosen market. Also the size (mass) a  company must sustain to maintain growth and efficiency and sustain sufficient working capital. I'm not sure how this relates to Alamy.

It's a measure of the minimum amount  needed to sustain a business or venture.
I'm not familiar with a critical mass in excess of that, unless of course we are talking nuclear issues?

 


Quite right, Richard. At least at the time when I did my microeconomics and macroeconomics examinations, the concept of "critical mass" was not contemplated. Either you can have a below-average mass, which leads to some kinds of diseconomies, or an excessively large mass, which leads to scale diseconomies. Alamy has always been between being too small to be actually profitable in the long term and being possibly profitable, again in the long term and not only for its shareholders but also for its staff, in which we contributing photographers could be included somewhat. Yet, Alamy has always lacked a clear business and cultural strategy, at least to my knowledge. Micro-stock? Mid-Stock? Specialized agency, newspapers, magazines, advertising, web photo service, Sh..ck or G..ty? Who knows what Alamy wanted to be? Yet, despite its haphazard model, Alamy has been profitable, for years. Thanks to its contributors more than to its management, I suspect.
Now. What's the point of an agengy - whose core busines is to provide content about the UK royal family, UK football teams, and movie celebrities - to to buy another agency with a collection of 160M pictures about pretty everything in the world?
And. Even if PA's idea is to expand onto the editorial/advertising market. What can we, as contributors, expect in terms of revenue share?
Alamy clearly did let us know that 50/50 was too much and only a massive uprising stopped them to reduce our revenue by 20% overnight (and only for those who accepted to go exclusive). Not, will PA align to the market average, which is much below 50/50, or not?
Would I accept to go down to 40% or 30% or less? Not at all (that's why I didn't signed with G) Not because I will be angry and vindicative. I can understand that companies must be as much profitable as they can.
But, simply, because I wouldn't earn enough to pay the time, effort, and costs I'll spend to produce new pictures for Alamy on an exclusive basis. 50/50 and an average picture gross price of $20 is the minimum acceptable threshold for me.
Don't be fool. WE and OUR 160M PHOTOS are the reason why PA bought Alamy!

Edited by riccarbi
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28 minutes ago, Richard Tadman said:

Just to add a note of commercial realism to this debate:- 

Business of whatever kind requires a willing seller & a willing buyer who agree to trade at a mutually acceptable price. Alamy (now PA Media)  owes me no favours and likewise I am in no way beholden to them. It's the law of supply and demand. Excess supply = lower prices. Shortage of supply = higher prices. It's not rocket science.
If as we all seem to accept, the market in which we operate is saturated with huge quantities of similar images it is inevitable that market prices fall.
The answer is to bale out or to submit only niche images or to ply our trade elsewhere, or arguably a combination of all of these.
It is an immutable fact that the market cannot be wrong and however wonderful. time consuming and unique we believe our images are - the market will  ultimately determine this.
I love taking photographs and will probably continue to submit images for the time being to Alamy /P A Media.
However, if there comes a point where the cost to me of capturing, processing them and attempting to sell them proves uneconomic, I am happy to accept this (albeit with heavy heart) and move on. 
However much we rant & rave - we are in the same boat as coal miners, milkmen, shoe repairers etc. Times move on and we have to adapt or accept that our trade is no nothing more tha n a hobby, unless we can differentiate ourselves from the rank and file.
Sad indeed - but true.


 

 

 

I don't quite accept that argument in relation to stock.

 

The user wants one image. I don't see why the fee becomes lower because there are 100 or 10,000 other images that the buyer does not want.

 

For me the low fees we have is more a result of business models based on offering low fees - see the history of iStockphoto - and agencies trying to undercut each other.

 

Those business practices facilitated by technology seem more relevant to me than the traditional price mechanism based on the interaction of supply and demand.

Edited by geogphotos
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I won’t be making any hurried decisions; I’ll see how things pan out and the weeks and months to come. It’s just possible, I suppose, that extra investment might bring extra business, extra rewards… though previous experiences suggest otherwise. Que sera, sera…

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Looking on the bright side, IMHO Alamy has been lacking direction for a while. Over the last few years the changes they have made felt more like desperate attempts to prop up a struggling business which had a lack of ideas about how to combat the general reduction in stock prices, other than just adding more and more images.

 

New ownership could/should bring new focus and direction and new/clearer strategic objectives. How these will affect us remains to be seen. But I felt that, if nothing changed, Alamy was going to sink. Alamy's current business model/procedures are relatively inefficient (download now, pay later, manual price negotiations and usage and invoice chasing) versus MS (payment up front/ automatic billing on download) which is fine if they can maintain higher fees. But their primary strategy seemed have been to accept lower image quality (e.g. 48MB -> 17MB and no QC on keywording) whilst increasing the size of their portfolio and cutting our commission to preserve profits as prices fell around them.

 

I think the stronger link with an Editorial/News business could be good. Editorial is one of Alamy's key strengths and one of MS's weakness. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see a "rationalisation" of images and contributors as the new owners drive towards improved efficiency and a more focussed collection of more saleable images. Alternatively, maybe they will actively adopt the MS model (I hope not)?

 

Anyway, I await any changes with interest, and a large dose of nervousness :unsure:

 

Mark

 

 

Edited by M.Chapman
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4 hours ago, ReeRay said:

Maybe the PA staff photographers on wages should be worried now; 

As above.

 

If I was a PA staffer I'd be worried. I'd be thinking, why would PA continue to give a day rate to cover softer breaking news when there's legion of pro, semi-pro and amateur snappers already to get their shoes muddy for free?

 

Whatever happens there will still be a need for quality imagery, how it is delivered is probably a less importatnt factor than the basic economics of the press industry at the mo.

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PA Media have bought Alamy......

 

....but what is ALamy?

 

its a collection of images that contributors make available for licence through the platform.

 

They are not Alamy’s images - they are ours.....

 

So, assuming PA Media still want the collection - why would they do anything to upset their contributors - they want to licence them and make revenue. they don’t want us to delete them, or offer them on alternative platforms.

 

in the short term I don5 expect anything to change “Alamy” will still exist.

 

In the longer term if the sale to PA Media means better opportunities to sell more images (at similar rates) then this should be a good thing.

 

jools

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Is not a prediction is a certainty. Same business model as on the takeover of iStock by Getty. No increase in sales just decrease in commissions, not that was  much of it anyway.
Alamy was collapsing slowly  for many years , could not keep up with the ever changing business model.
When a large group buy's an asset they want a quick return on investment , will be a repeat story of Getty...since the Arabs bought the largest share of the agency...and those investors will want their money back and turn a profit....is only one way to get it.

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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

I don't quite accept that argument in relation to stock.

 

The user wants one image. I don't see why the fee becomes lower because there are 100 or 10,000 other images that the buyer does not want.

 

For me the low fees we have is more a result of business models based on offering low fees - see the history of iStockphoto - and agencies trying to undercut each other.

 

Those business practices facilitated by technology seem more relevant to me than the traditional price mechanism based on the interaction of supply and demand.

 

You have a point although if the user wants a picture of Blackpool Tower for example, there are such a huge array that arguable any of several hundred might fit the bill and it's back to supply and demand, bearing in mind that if Alamy can't fit the bill, plenty of other agencies can and the devil takes the hindmost. For those who have unique & specific images the rules are somewhat different, but I hazard a guess that they are few and far between in the overall scheme of things. Not only that but Alamy publishing list prices would seem to preclude them from charging a premium for even Elvis Presley with Lord Lucan!

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9 minutes ago, Richard Tadman said:

 

You have a point although if the user wants a picture of Blackpool Tower for example, there are such a huge array that arguable any of several hundred might fit the bill and it's back to supply and demand, bearing in mind that if Alamy can't fit the bill, plenty of other agencies can and the devil takes the hindmost. For those who have unique & specific images the rules are somewhat different, but I hazard a guess that they are few and far between in the overall scheme of things. Not only that but Alamy publishing list prices would seem to preclude them from charging a premium for even Elvis Presley with Lord Lucan!

 

Yes, but in the vast majority of cases with Alamy the fee depends on the use not the availability of alternative images. 

 

The thing is that each image is actually unique - the supply is one. Images are not widgets or identical packets of soap suds. 

 

I agree that the huge oversupply does allow agencies to offer very low prices, subscription deals and the like - but would contend that is not actually down to the price mechanism but an overall business strategy that agencies can employ because they do not have to pay for their supply of products. 

 

To me this distinction is important because I don't swallow the argument that low fees are somehow inevitable because of oversupply. 

 

I worry that PA will be more concerned with using Alamy in challenging for market share against competitors - and that is likely to be on price/deals rather than content. That will be dependent on the business model and strategy that they decide to adopt.

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11 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

Yes, but in the vast majority of cases with Alamy the fee depends on the use not the availability of alternative images. 

 

The thing is that each image is actually unique - the supply is one. Images are not widgets or identical packets of soap suds. 

 

I agree that the huge oversupply does allow agencies to offer very low prices, subscription deals and the like - but would contend that is not actually down to the price mechanism but an overall business strategy that agencies can employ because they do not have to pay for their supply of products. 

 

To me this distinction is important because I don't swallow the argument that low fees are somehow inevitable because of oversupply. 

 

I worry that PA will be more concerned with using Alamy in challenging for market share against competitors - and that is likely to be on price/deals rather than content. That will be dependent on the business model and strategy that they decide to adopt.


I take your point. It must be great to have a business model where we all do the leg work at no cost to Alamy or whoever and other than storage and hosting fees they incur no cost until they sell an image and then they pretty much clear 50% on the sale. Not only that but we have to bear the 90 days or more credit extended to these customers. The more I think about this the more inequitable it all appears. Mugs or what ?

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13 minutes ago, Richard Tadman said:


I take your point. It must be great to have a business model where we all do the leg work at no cost to Alamy or whoever and other than storage and hosting fees they incur no cost until they sell an image and then they pretty much clear 50% on the sale. Not only that but we have to bear the 90 days or more credit extended to these customers. The more I think about this the more inequitable it all appears. Mugs or what ?

No because without Alamy you'd make no sales.  I think 50% is a good deal.

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2 hours ago, geogphotos said:

PA Media is part of PA Media Group Limited,  a private company with 26 shareholders, most of whom are national and regional newspaper publishers. The biggest shareholders include the Daily Mail and General Trust, News UK, and UBM.

 

News UK is Murdoch 😕

Daily Mail is Daily Mail 😟

 

Don't newspapers have some self-interest here in a business selling licenses to newspapers?

Looking at the full shareholders list, the whole of UK media have self interest, generally in these situations it is easier to be cynical and presume prices will go down, whilst there is not much to suggest image prices will increase. But all in all the changes from a year ago, means this has been the long term plan from the heads of Alamy. 

 

One positive thing maybe that Alamy stock photos become more professional and have a certain level of quality to the Photography, with some rubbish images being deleted, but who knows?

 

I'd like to think there might be a positive outcome, but not many takeovers end in such a way for the workers, which is in effect what we, the contributors are.

 

Surely the shareholders, will receive a discount for images used

Shareholders

PA Media Group has 26 shareholders, many of whom are national and regional newspaper groups. They include:

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2 hours ago, Matt Ashmore said:

PA might put investment into Alamy to make it better. 

 

We just have to ride the rollercoaster andd see where it goes!

 I'm trying to not be over pessimistic, but I fear you are perhaps a bit over optimistic. PA is not Apple, their 2018 operating margin was just £3.1M, compared to Alamy's £1.2M. There is not much room for big investment in those numbers. Yet, they might possibly inject a more aggressive and competitive business model into Alamy, hopefully. 

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Having personally dealt with some of PA’s ‘shareholders’ on numerous occasions, for their own brand advertising as well as editorial, and to the order of tens of thousands of pounds at times, I can only assume another (post Getty) ‘race to the bottom’ will unfold from this acquisition.

Could be wrong (I often am) but honestly; the likes of News UK are low balling, rights grabbing, and consistent long-term disingenuous abusers of visual copyright holding  “content creators”.

On the positive note, us creatives have never had so good when it comes to accessing and communicating with our ideal target, fee paying audience directly.

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54 minutes ago, Stanmore said:

Having personally dealt with some of PA’s ‘shareholders’ on numerous occasions, for their own brand advertising as well as editorial, and to the order of tens of thousands of pounds at times, I can only assume another (post Getty) ‘race to the bottom’ will unfold from this acquisition.

Could be wrong (I often am) but honestly; the likes of News UK are low balling, rights grabbing, and consistent long-term disingenuous abusers of visual copyright holding  “content creators”.

On the positive note, us creatives have never had so good when it comes to accessing and communicating with our ideal target, fee paying audience directly.

 

Most of my sales are outside the UK, so I hope that Alamy retains the skills that it has acquired when it comes to working with international customers. Also, I'd hate to see the UK newspaper scheme become the model for licensing images to other editorial markets -- e.g. to books and magazines.

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1 hour ago, ChrisC said:

 

Shareholders

PA Media Group has 26 shareholders, many of whom are national and regional newspaper groups. They include:

 

 

what is interesting is many of these bought from Alamy, including Live News, so obviously the model fits some of their needs.  Will the board tell them, this is not available anymore?

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Curious to know if they’ll accept video again for Alamy since that’s a platform they already have. That would be nice because it comes up from time to time here from new people just joining.

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“We have sent notice of this out to you via email, but if you have opted out of marketing emails from us then you won't receive this.”

 

If you haven’t received this email check your spam folder, that’s where I just found mine!!

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After having had a good scour on the PA as well PA Images site I am a bit confused to say the least about this - I just don't really get it considering what Alamy's actual profits are and the fact that the group members have access to Alamy's images at the lowest rates already. 

Its going to be an interesting year to say the least and no doubt we will find out just what PA see as an attractive proposition. Lest hope its not too painful.

 

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13 minutes ago, Panthera tigris said:

<snip> I just don't really get it considering what Alamy's actual profits are and the fact that the group members have access to Alamy's images at the lowest rates already

 

My emphasis added to above quote . . . so now, not only do they still have access to Alamy's (our) images, they own them!! So maybe it's not quite the lowest they can go if you think about it.

 

. .. ooh look, a butterfly . . . 

 

Dd 

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