Cepic New Media Day, Opening Adress

With the annual Cepic congress behind us I thought I’d share my short opening adress of the new media conference. The Cepic congress brought together over 600 people from the picture business with participants from all over the world. I will be sharing video’s of the event later that will be available for participants.


The Picture Business is at a turning point.

As it has been many times

But this time there’s a difference

This time we, as an industry, we can be the ones in control. This time we have choices…. and the opportunity to embrace them. This time we can use all the tools at our disposal and re-invent how we do business


Because this time the amount of people communicating through images is growing at an incredible pace

And this time technology enables us to reach these new businesses and people faster, cheaper and better

  • Camera technology allows millions of people to improve their skills and create great photography that is commercially viable
  • Software as a service allows our business to deploy software that was only available to the largest companies before for a small monthly fee.
  • Website platforms provide companies with scalable platforms that are developed using the feedback of all its users
  • Social and other new media allow us to address specific client groups in the heart of their communities
  • A new generation of smart picture buyers knows how to use tools to find and apply images fast

Today we will look at these new tools and technologies, starting, most importantly with our clients this morning.

So if it is all good, Why does it feel so hard?

Accepting and adopting all these new opportunities can be confusing, especially for long established companies with existing systems, processes and habits. This is why in many cases new companies are the ones causing disruption. Unburdened by the past these businesses can introduce new businessmodels and start  lighter and cheaper operations. And this is exactly what has happened repeatedly – Think Royalty free, then Microstock, Subscriptions and now Free images.

A new wave of possibly disruptive companies is waiting in the wings and they are not traditional stock agencies. These businesses source a wide range of images through communities and are finding new ways to monetize them, think Instagram/Twitpic/Facebook. They will provide opportunities for the picture businesses and at the same time will demand us to adapt quickly.

And if we won’t adapt?

They may do it without us.

This is the opportunity; our industry produces stores and manages the largest collection of ‘professional grade’ images in the world. And with professional grade I don’t mean ‘shot by professionals’ but any image fit for purpose to be used by businesses and professionals. We are the ones that hold that content and the ones that can help integrate it in new media applications around us.

This, at a time when businesses and individuals communicate with images more and more every day

And who said there is no interest in the picture business.

  • Instagram, a photo sharing application that has been experimenting with distribution received $5 million in funding
  • Picplz, a location based photo stream received $5 million in funding
  • Stipple, an application that allows users to click through to advertising from pictures received $2 million in funding
  • Fotolia received $75 million in funding
  • Startup Color, a photosharing application received $42 million in images before it launched!
  • Picscout was recently acquired by Getty Images for $20 million

Today we can only scratch the service of the opportunities but we hope to be able to put forward ideas and options that businesses can apply to position themselves for this new way of sharing, delivering and applying pictures.

This day will have a narrative, David Campbell will look at learnings outside our industry and challenge us to have an outward look. Then our client panel will give us feedback on what they truly need us to do to serve them well. We will then look at how we can resolve the challenge of lower margins yet still be able to reach bigger groups of clients. We then take a sidestep and look at regional opportunities with a spotlight on Asia.

For my panel I have invited three innovators. Shahidul Alam will touch on the ethics of using images and the role of social media. Amos Struck will introduce ways in which affiliations and plugins can help businesses reach new audiences and grow revenue. Finally Kai Uwe Barthel will show how we can apply search to help people get to what they need faster and better.

Lanny Ziering and his panel will address the future of distribution. How will we get our content to millions in the years to come.


  • The amount of images being consumed is growing exponentially
  • We hold the largest collection of ‘professional grade Fast Media Goods’
  • New business models and ideas involving images are all around us
  • Technology enables us to reach more people for less money
  • There is interest from investors for the right idea

I hope you will enjoy today and that it will help you to find ways to work with the rapid changes we are facing. As an industry we need to be progressive and forward looking.

This can be the next turning point

A point where we face challenges head on, take learnings from similar industries and embrace and encourage innovation that will help our fast growing clientbase work with us on their terms for years to come.

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses

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