As the beast stumbles, the race continues. Mighty Associated Press has decided to increase its celebrity coverage by an additional 21 staffers spread out between the East Coast and West Coast. And not just photographers, but also writers, videographers. Furthermore, AP will not just limit themselves to red carpet, but might join the ranks of the street paparazzi if the story demands it.
“AP is uniquely positioned to become the definitive provider of entertainment news for all media formats largely because of our reputation for accurate, unbiased coverage.” said newly appointed Director of Entertainment Content Daniel Becker in an internal memo. And this might just be true.
Getty and Wireimage are exponentially covering events as the publicist-hired company. Thus forcing themselves to commit an act of auto censorship and most times publicist censorship. Getty cannot guarantee any editorial freedom and independence when they cover these celebrity events on behalf of those who produced them. It is quite the opposite. Most will be edited and watered down before being send for mass consumption in magazines all over the world.
AP doesn’t take these types of assignments. Which is good news for the business side of Getty but certainly not for content directors. It will be very interesting to see how this battle plays out. Those who might suffer, however, are the numerous small agencies that survive on the crumbs left behind by the soon to be private Seattle giant.
More competition on celebrity events is certainly not good news for the Startraks, Starmax, Beimages, Celebrity photo and others who have managed to do well, for some, thanks partially to Getty’s and Wireimage’s inability to offer a full, truthful coverage.
The question now, is not if, but when will Reuters and EPA follow ?
You are correct that AP does not directly take publicist requested assignments for entertainment coverage the way Getty and WireImage do.
AP does have a commercial division, Wide World Photos, that accepts commercial assignments and could easily accept a publicist’s business for event coverage. Freelancers covering WWP assignments are typically the same freelancers who cover editorial assignments for AP. They all have the capability to submit images to AP for editorial consideration and distribution.
The only limit to submission would be the assigning non-editorial editor’s rules for editing and submission.
It’s not a very wide space between AP’s editorial and commercial divisions when it comes to entertainment coverage.
AP could easily enter the same agreements as Getty and WireImage through Wide World Photos.