The Collapse of An Industry
The Market Ticker - Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-05-12 07:00 by Karl Denninger
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The Collapse of An Industry
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I saw an interesting statistic the other day that put into stark relief what technology does.

Photographer 'day rates' at major publications have crashed -- from $3,000 or more a day to under $300.

And that's for the really good photographers.

Why?  Because print media is gone and digital media is increasingly "free" online - although there are traditional publishers trying to "monetize" their digital sites directly via subscription systems and everyone has a camera with them 24x7.

Newspapers and magazines, in short, simply don't pay any more because they don't have to.  Everyone and their brother will pull out their iPhoney and send in pictures hoping to get them in print for nothing more than bragging rights, and in addition damn near everyone has one -- so the need to dispatch a photographer to cover a "news" event disappears since odds are high that whatever the occasion someone already got the shot.  Yeah, 95% of them are crap but the paper only needs one that isn't and it no longer has to pay anything to get it.

So what does someone who loves imaging -- whether still or video -- to do?

First, don't go to college.  Seriously.  If you want to destroy yourself go ahead and waste $50,000 or more on something that has a career path for the top 10% that make under $100,000 a year.  The average shooter coming out of college will make a literal zero.

Instead look at where the market went: online.

Then cut all the middlemen out.

It's never been easier to tell a story and if someone's going to get advertising revenue why not make it you?

Think about the newspaper: Yes, they sell subscriptions but most of their revenue is from ads.  When you work for them you get a small piece of their revenue, because they have to pay for all the printing, distribution and overhead costs.  The editors.  The trucks.  The presses.  The ink, paper and distribution expenses.  That big building full of executives.  All that money comes out first before they can pay you.

Or look at Facesucker in all its forms (including Instagram), Snap and similar.  All of them sell ads that run on your content and they keep the money.

What sort of stupid are you to provide them with content for free and get no cut of the revenue they get from attaching advertising to your content?

Instead publish independently, you tell a story people want to read and see, and you keep at least some of the revenue from doing so.

The cost of doing this has never been lower.

You can put together a low-cost publishing system that works for $50 a month or so -- that's under $600 a year.  Yes, it's still work, all yours -- and the ad brokers, whether "Adsense" or otherwise will still take their cut.

But you get the rest.

If you're good at telling stories, and let's face it that's what media is about, whether in words or images -- then this path might well be viable for you provided you can find a niche that is underserved and thus you can stand out in some way against the morass of crap.

Trades rarely die but they often mutate, and those who get blown out are usually the ones who simply refuse to adapt; they instead watch what they believed was their "path" turn to dust.

Find the fork in the road instead and take it before the bridge goes out from under your feet.

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User Info The Collapse of An Industry in forum [Market-Ticker]
Flappingeagle
Posts: 2582
Incept: 2011-04-14

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Bringing in a related tidbit, I've noticed in the last 1 to 3 months that every website I visit has upped the number of ads that I'm exposed to noticeably. Even the ones that were not that ad heavy have become ad heavy. For example, Pandora used to let me listen for a couple of hours (at least it felt like they did) before they wanted to know if I was still listening, now it seems like it is every hour at most. Many other sites now bombard me with popovers, slide-ins, and everything else you can think of.

Just like we expected to eventually happen, it appears that the "free content internet" is on the ropes. Companies have to generate revenue somehow if they are going to pay the bills and it appears, at lest from my perspective, that things are getting awfully tight for just about all of them.

Flap

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S&P 500 at 320, DOW at 2200, Gold $300/oz, and Corn $2/bu.
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Max_planck
Posts: 11
Incept: 2017-01-09

Southern Arizona
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Do we detect the genesis of this piece may be related to Sarah's recent writings and pics? They are well done.
Tickerguy
Posts: 148678
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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Quote:
Bringing in a related tidbit, I've noticed in the last 1 to 3 months that every website I visit has upped the number of ads that I'm exposed to noticeably. Even the ones that were not that ad heavy have become ad heavy. For example, Pandora used to let me listen for a couple of hours (at least it felt like they did) before they wanted to know if I was still listening, now it seems like it is every hour at most. Many other sites now bombard me with popovers, slide-ins, and everything else you can think of.

Yep; I caught two apps on my phone, one of which was Pandora, dramatically increasing the amount of traffic when not being used. I caught it because it was having an impact on my battery life!

The result? Bye-bye Pandora! And the other app - which was Reuters' news app. That got ****-canned too.

There's a revulsion point with ads and everyone is trying to dance with that devil - and many will get and are getting the horns instead.

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Winding it down.
Chaostheory
Posts: 3
Incept: 2017-04-28

Colorado
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Skipped college myself.
I shot for a successful and highly respected studio in the 80's, easily could have made it a career. My dad, who taught graduate EE, convinced me that digital (still on the horizon at the time) would destroy the profession.

As usual, he was correct. With cheap equipment and cheaper bandwith, we are now bombarded with mediocre images. Plus, with no film costs, developing costs, proofing costs, etc., any idjit can produce an "acceptable" image now and then. The result? It's an uphill battle for a real pro to earn even a mpdest living.
Penguinzee
Posts: 352
Incept: 2010-06-13

Tampa Bay, FL
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Speaking as someone who has been around this industry (advertising, back in the 1980s!) yeah, things have changed soooo much! I used to hire photographers for around $500/day (studio shots, products, etc) which nowadays are done for virtually nothing...

A prime example of what you're describing what to do if you're a photographer would be what my nephew is-he's selling prints and the like online, and has really taken off, even while he's still in school!!! Considering how much a shutterbug you are, you probably have heard of him...

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Flyanddive
Posts: 2137
Incept: 2008-10-10

Detroit
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Yep, it used to cost over $100K to get viable airborne footage, these days someone on the crew usually has a DJI drone they use for free.

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"I've seen people go into real poverty trying to pretend to be rich."
Mannfm11
Posts: 5360
Incept: 2009-02-28

DFW, Tx
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I have come to realize that probably 90% of college today is on how to become a bureaucrat. This is why there are so many socialist nuts in universities now, as their livelihood is dependent on more bureaucracy and thus more government. It is time for anyone who gives one damn about freedom to educate all the liberals they know about where we are headed, Venezuela.

I went to a dinner (lunch) for a friend who graduated from college. He is in his early 40's. His family was there from out of town. Turned out the entire table, at least the men, were leftists. I brought up Venezuela. Then I said, if I had a race car, I wouldn't hire someone off the street to drive it. There are probably few college professors I would hire to run a business. Maybe in the science or business schools, but even then, there would be few. I would never hire a bureaucrat to do anything other than take out the garbage, unless I needed a crooked lawyer. America is being ass raped. If Trump turns around and gets into the Climate Change bull****, time to leave town. They are going to starve many of us, disarm us and rearm the leftists, ala Venezuela. Keep your eyes open, this isn't tinfoil.

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The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.---John Kenneth Galbraith
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