A 60 % drop in pricing. That is, the prices have fallen 60% from where they were last year. The reason ? magazines, that either borrowed heavily or relied too much on advertising, crashed. The country : Spain.
Sometimes, it is important to pay attention to what is going on in other countries to have an idea of what can or could happen in your own. After all, the market is global, isn’t it? And photography is certainly one of these products that exports really well.
Spain, for those who might not know is based in Southern part of western Europe, just south of France and next to Portugal. It is populated by some of the nicest and agreeable people on the planet and was, just until recently, referred as one of the fastest growing economy. Not so much anymore.
What happened ? Well, like with anywhere else, it go really hit hard by the collapse of the world economy. Many Magazines that use to pay top dollars, sorry, Euros, for images, shut down. Completely. The survivors, in a desperate effort to protect themselves, cut costs dramatically. Photography was hit hard.
So what did the photo agencies do ? They followed. Not only did they accepted the dramatic licensing fees cuts, but in a desperate effort to keep revenue and market share, they increased their offering. The idea was that more sales would compensate for the pricing fall out. So they inundated the market with more images of lesser quality, thus accelerating the pricing debacle. First and foremost, Getty Images and Corbis led the parade : Keep market share at all cost, including lowering their prices dramatically.
Average price per image ( editorial) fell from 110 Euros to 50, if not lower. The increase in volume also impacted workflows, whereby photo agencies can not even process all the images they receive, especially since they also had to cut down in manpower. Seems like a panic situation.
Some photo agencies have shut down while others are merging in a final attempt to survive. However, merging is hard enough for big corporations, just imagine when its two or three family -owned businesses. Emotions must be running high.
Other countries are our neighborhoods and what affects them will affect us. No one is immune from a crash and it is no longer enough to say that it will never be business as usual. Lessons have to quickly be learned.