CEPIC opens in Malta: will the photo industry reinvent itself?

I am on my way to Malta to attend CEPIC, the largest event in the Stock Photo Industry and work on some of these companies to help them migrate towards new horizons, including video.

Most of us know the key players, as you read the small prints next to the photos in your newspapers, magazines and books. These are Reuters, AFP, AP or Getty and Corbis, and hundreds of smaller agencies focusing on niche markets, more or less profitable, such as celebrities, sports, historical archives, health, nature etc.

Only one event, once a year, gives you the opportunity to meet all these players. CEPIC opens on June 3rd 2008 until June 8th and this year takes place in Malta. It is a unique opportunity to get a fully booked agenda with meetings back to back with agencies. Hundreds of companies are represented from all over the world. As well, the event hosts numerous conferences about critical subjects such as digital rights, emerging businesses, market trends or metadata standards.

CEPIC was created to represent “the interests of picture associations, agencies and libraries in Europe, in total 1.053 picture agencies and libraries in Europe, from the smallest to the largest, the sole trader and the global company, covering all aspects of photography, news, stock, heritage.

The stock photo industry is commonly estimated to be a US $ 2 billion market, fairly stable over the past 15 years. Although photos are more and more frequently used, why are this industry’s revenue stable. Here are a few reasons in my opinion :
– overall price decrease in the rights managed industry
– emerging business models have drastically undercut industry growth : royalty free first, micropayment nowdays
– increased supply in quantity and quality has standardized the offer
– other media (TV and now video) have banalized the role of photography over the past 20 years.
– technology provided
– easy access and little capital to enter the market.
-Too many players/not enough power houses
-traditional media under constant pressure to cut costs

In Malta, the players will get a chance to share about the best practices in this fast evolving industry.