Just on the edge of their announced possible IPO / sale, and while everyone thought the battle for editorial photography supremacy was over, easily won by the Seattle gargantuan , here comes from the outfield a new agency that could create havoc.
Called Invision Agency , it is a spinoff of the 150 years old Associated Press. Tired of taking a beating from Getty, loosing photographers, staffers and market share, the financially suffering AP images has decided to fight back and open fire.
Invison, whose official launch is imminent (today, tomorrow ?) will be like ImageDirect or Wireimage before they were bought by Getty.
Covering events on assignment for corporate clients, it will distribute and license the images for them. And because they have access to the golden AP wire ( a publicist’s nirvana), they certainly have a strong appeal.
Why this spin off ? Because traditional AP photographers cannot shoot on assignment for anyone as they would loose the sacro saint journalistic integrity. Thus the need to create this separate yet wholly owned entity that will use Non AP yet AP photographers whose images on the AP wire will be clearly identified as shot on assignment thus potentially tainted by unfairness. Make sense ?
The battle will be rough because Getty doesn’t take poaching lightly and all but one of the starting photographers are ex Getty staffer. It will be bloody because Getty cannot afford to loose market share in an already battered market. It will be without pity because the celebrity pie is small and the stakes are high.
On one hand AP images the venerable needs to stop the hemorrhagy it has been enduring for years, while the owners of Getty, smelling a short bubble-like opportunity (think Instagram) wants to cash in on their expensive acquisition.
While Getty is certainly more agile and experienced in this highly evolving market, AP has the advantage of longevity and a formidable international structure. If Getty, for example, lost its relationship with AFP, it would suddenly be without significant international coverage.
The question is how much will has AP put in this new venture and will they support this new venture until victory.