The companies that will survive have their eyes set to where they will be in 5 years. Those who are playing the day to day game, hoping to surf the waves to the shore of victory will eventually find out there is no success waiting for them behind the next wave.
Boat architects of the super fast America’s Cup have known for a while that it is better to cut through the crest of the waves and get wet to keep the boat straight rather than float above each wave and stay dry. Companies that get up everyday with the question “what do we do today ?” will never be able to compete with those who say “where do we want to be in 5 years ?”
Contradicting information is everywhere. Chris Anderson, author of the frequently misunderstood “Long Tail” keeps advocating that Free is the new marketing, advocating giving away some of your product and services in order to get some to pay for your premium. He is also plugging is new upcoming book. The Wall Street Journal, in which this article is published, is actually considering doing just exactly that.
On the other side, Time, inc CEO, Ann Moore, is just tired of free:
“I think it is time for Time Inc to sit down and seriously think, what is the model? We are going to have to figure out a way to have paid content in the future,” she says, adding that the business is considering making its most successful websites, such as Time.com and People.com, subscription-based.
It has been the unsuccessful business model of a lot of newspapers to give away content for free in the hopes in capitalizing on ad revenue. Not only it did not work, but they shot themselves, not in the foot, but right into their heads, causing many to shut down completly. And it is a tragedy. News coverage will become the playing field of opinion based bloggers ( like myself) who have no interest in truth, only highly biased commentary. Sure Twitter can be the first to report on a plane crash, but can it ever report on the Why?
What is the photo industry supposed to do ? Well, unless you are ( that guy), giving away free pictures will never pay your bills. As Chris Anderson confirms, Youtube, Facebook, or even Twitter, albeit mighty popular, are still struggling to make a profit . Who do you think you are that you can beat them at their own game ? Free has not worked for the newspaper world, as we all have seen. Why would it work for you ?
Especially at a time when publishers are deciding to finally take a more commerical approach tho their online ventures.
If Time Inc charges for their customers, why shouldn’t you ? Especially since these mega publishing holding have cried poverty since the late nineties, saying their dot com cousins had no budget. Haven’t they fooled you long enough. Traffic on people.com is higher than their print edition and yet they pay much, much less. With their subscription model, they are probably paying on an average $10 an image for in perpetuity, worldwide usage. Photographers and agencies accepting such rates because they think it will give them good publicity are fooling themselves the same way newspapers believed putting their edition online for free would advertise their print edition.
The answer to how to navigate this crisis is not that complicated. It is right there, next to you. What I can say, without revealing too much, is that it does not lie in hope but determination.