InfoTrends Predicts Growth in Sales of Photo Merchandise

PHOTOGRAPHERS. DESIGNERS. A new market-research report from InfoTrends seems to suggest that professional photographers who can help make it easier for consumers to convert images into attractively designed books, posters, collages, and other projects can develop additional sources of revenues.

In the report entitled, “U.S. Consumer Photo Merchandise Market Forecast: 2010-2015,” InfoTrends projects that the photo merchandise market can grow substantially, reaching $2.2 billion in revenues by 2015.

They group photo merchandise in four categories:

  • Photo books
  • Photo greeting cards
  • Photo calendars
  • Specialty photo items

Specialty photo items include enlargements greater than 8 x 10 inches, posters, framed photo prints, photo collages, and fine-art photo prints on canvas.

InfoTrends analysts believes that photo books will contribute the most to overall revenue and will experience the largest growth numbers.

Attracting more first-time buyers into the photo merchandise market will be essential to achieving the forecasted growth rates, notes David Haueter, an associate director at InfoTrends: “Our consumer research data shows that, in 2010, only 32% of survey respondents had purchased any type of photo merchandise in the past year. This was an increase over 2009 numbers (25%), but there is still nearly 70% of the population that have not purchased photo merchandise in the last year.”

He believes vendors of photo merchandise can succeed by offering attractive and competitive products and marketing efforts that clearly show the benefits. In addition, photo-merchandise vendors must be constantly looking ahead to anticipate what additional products their customers will want or what types of new design or product features will appeal to them.

Vendors who sell photo merchandise to consumers must also consider how to improve the workflow process associated with creating and ordering photo merchandise items to make it simpler for their customers.

“There are challenges involved in being successful in this market,” Haueter says, “But InfoTrends has a very positive outlook on the long-term health and growth of this market, as it gives consumers a creative outlet for doing things with their photos.”


U.S. Consumer Photo Merchandise Market Forecast: 2010-2015

About InfoTrends


 PhotoShelter Guide Gives Practical Advice on Selling Prints

Gearing Up for the Boom in Online Video

When the first professional-grade cameras came out that could shoot both stills and high-quality video, one of the first questions some photographers asked was “Why?” Since then, the answer is becoming clearer.

Short videos are being used to enrich the usefulness of millions of corporate and commercial websites, blogs, digital magazines, advertising, and e-books. The hybrid cameras can make it more cost-effective to add produce online video, because publishers of online content can hire a single creative professional to capture both stills and video while shooting on location, or interviewing a subject.

Here are five news items that illustrate market projections and how some creative professionals are developing new business models, products, and services to meet the demand.

BrightRoll Survey Shows Agencies Expect to Spend More on Online Video

According to a survey of advertising agencies conducted by the video ad network BrightRoll, “Media buyers predict online video will see the largest overall increase in spend in 2011.” The survey found that “65% of respondents plan to reallocate campaign dollars from TV to online video.” BrightRoll cited a recent eMarketer study that showed the average number of hours Americans spend online has been growing by 6% a year while the average number of hours spent watching TV has been declining 1% annually.

Although the cost of online video is still regarded as a barrier to more widespread adoption, 27% of the agencies surveyed said that more than half of their RFPs in 2010 included an online video component.


BrightRoll Video Advertising Report, Q1, 2011

E Video Productions Makes Video Marketing Affordable to Local Businesses

E-Video Productions in Forked River, New Jersey is offering small-business owners a “12 Months of Video” package at a low monthly fee. According to partner Darcie King, the program “allows businesses to budget for their video content without having a large up-front cost. Video content is so important in this current market, and we want to make sure it’s available to everyone.”

The plan includes the production of:

  • six “Expertise Videos” in which the business owner or spokesperson can demonstrate their knowledge of a certain subject;
  • four customer-testimonial videos;
  • two videos that combine highlights of the expertise videos and testimonial videos.

“We noticed that a lot of businesses wanted to get into doing video, but didn’t know where to start,” states E Video partner Kristopher King. “We created this plan to make it easy and affordable for anyone who wants to get in front of the YouTube generation.”


About E Video Productions

Press Release: Video Production Studio Opens in Lacey

Photo Festival to Showcase Outstanding Videos Shot on Hybrid Cameras

Some of the finest examples of videos shot with cameras that can capture both stills and high-resolution video will be exhibited to a live audience in a “film-fest” format on October 21 at the Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The evening of curated videos is part of the Atlanta Celebrates Photography festival, which seeks to nurture and support photographers, educate and engage audiences, promote diverse photography, and enrich Atlanta’s cultural scene.

In the open call for entries, the show’s curators emphasize that “We can’t accept videos shot with a dedicated video camera. We specifically want to see what the hybrid still/video camera creates, and learn how it’s being used to do more than shoot stills. In doing so, we learn about what ‘moves’ us as an audience, and as videographers, and photographers.”

They will be looking for works that are expressive, engaging, emotionally satisfying, or envelope-pushing: “We want to see your best work. It might be a low-res video shot on an old cellphone or an HD beauty shot on your brand-new 5D Mark III.”

A $250 award for “Best in Show” will be awarded by guest jurors Tom Brown, vice president of original productions for Turner Classic Movies and Michael Kochman, creative director of Turner Image Management.

Entries are due September 15 at 11:59 pm (EST). There is no charge to enter.


Atlanta Celebrates Photography

ACP Film Series:  Open Call for Entries

Red Square Visual Arts Produces ‘Video Lookbook’ for Fashion Marketing

Corey Weiner of Red Square Visual Arts in Boca Raton, Florida, is a former advertising account executive who began to offer photography services to architecture, design, and travel clients in 1997. Over the past two years, his services have segued into motion-picture services for a broad spectrum of projects, including fashion video look books, shows,
behind-the-scenes, and other promotional films.

Red Square Visual Arts Production Stills from Video Shoots
Production stills from video lookbooks Red Square Visual Arts produced for models.

Weiner says the web-based video look book is becoming a staple of fashion marketing: “From early Egyptian art to today’s haute couture magazines, fashion has always been seen as a flat, static, two-dimensional stiff image. The only time you saw a moving garment was either in person or a feature film. But think about what Audrey Hepburn did for the ‘little black dress’ and that’s the power of the moving picture.”

Recently, Red Square Visual Arts produced a two-minute film that features clothes from the new collection of Dear Earth, an organic clothing line designed by Miami-based Danielle Moore. The film features fully licensed music and a link back to Dear Earth’s website so consumers can purchase what they have seen. As the video gets picked up by fashion blogs and social networking sites, Moore and Weiner will track Facebook and Twitter comments, blog posts, and Internet traffic generated back to Dear Earth’s  e-commerce site. The entire cost of adding video production to an existing catalog shoot was $900.

“Just a few years ago, producing a video like this would have been cost-prohibitive for a small designer,” says Weiner. “And it would have cost even more to televise it to people around the world. YouTube and other online channels allow you to see exactly which point in the video is most interesting to people, and how many are clicking to purchase your product.”


Red Square Visual Arts

Press Release: Fashion Videographer Now Producing Video Lookbooks

Video: Dear Earth:: In the Name of Love

CineSkates Compact Camera Sliders Delivers Fluid Video Shots

Cinetics is launching CineSkates™, a lightweight, professional-grade camera slider that will allow photographers/videographers to capture stable, high-resolution video footage without lugging heavy gear. The device also makes it possible to achieve fluid camera movement in space-constrained environments where traditional camera sliders, dollies and cranes are too cumbersome.

“Today’s cameras allow you to take high-resolution video in a small form factor, but the result can be shaky and distracting if you don’t have stability.” explains Cinetics founder Justin Jensen. “I wanted a camera slider that was lightweight and mobile for professional events or even spontaneous shots.”

Developed in an MIT MediaLab class, CineSkates is a unique set of wheels that attach to a tripod and enable the user to put their video in motion. They are designed to work specifically with the GorillaPod Focus™ tripod, and a ballhead, like the BallHead X, also from JOBY®.

Jensen envisions CineSkates being used for product demo videos, wedding films, music videos and other high-quality productions. He says the device enables filmmakers to produce shots that have previously been difficult to capture with bulky equipment. For example, using CineSkates with a DSLR that shoots high-res video enables videographers to produce:

  • Arcing video shots that rotate around objects
  • Sliding video shots that push or pull the subject into focus
  • Rolling video shots that glide over the subject
  • Time-lapse video shots that move the camera slowly and smoothly
  • Panning video shots that scan a wide area
  • “Worm’s eye view” video shots that slide just above the floor

CineSkates are available to preorder through Kickstarter at for a limited time, reduced price of $150 and $275 for the complete CineSkates System that includes the GorillaPod Focus and Ballhead X.


About Cinetics

Press Release: CineSkates Compact Camera Sliders Delivers Fluid Video Shots

Video:  CineSkates Camera Sliders

Percentage of Adults Who Own E-Readers and Tablets Is Relatively Small

Despite all the publicity surrounding tablets (such as the iPad, Samsung Galaxy, and Motorola Xoom) and e-readers (such as the Kindle or Nook), the percentages of adults who currently own tablets and e-readers are still well below the percentage of adults who own laptop and desktop computers and cell phones.

According to a survey of 2,277 adults conducted from April 26 to May 22, 2011 by The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, only 8% of adults over age 18 own tablet computers and 12% own e-readers. This includes 3% of survey respondents who own both an e-reader and a tablet computer. Just 9% of adults own an e-book reader, but not a tablet computer. And only 5% of adults own a tablet computer, but not an e-reader.

In contrast, 56% of adults own a laptop, 57% own a desktop, and 83% own a cell phone.

Chart from Pew Research on E Readers and Tablet Ownership

The survey found that the most likely owners of e-readers are Hispanic adults, adults younger than 65, college graduates, and those living in households with incomes of at least $75,000. Over the past six months, ownership of e-readers among parents has grown more rapidly than it has about non-parents.

According to the Pew report entitled “E-Readership Ownership Doubles in Six Months” by Kristen Purcell, similar demographic patterns of ownership exist for tablet computers, although parents are no more likely than non-parents to own these devices. In the case of tablet computers, men are slightly more likely than women to own tablets.

The survey found that since last November, e-readership ownership doubled from 6% to 12%, while tablet ownership has grown more slowly. In May 2011, 8% of adults reported owning a tablet computer, compared to 7% in January, 2011 and 5% in November, 2010.

You can read (or download) the 7-page report on the Pew Internet website.


Pew Research Report: E-Reader Ownership Doubles in Six Months by Kristen Purcell



Trends in 3D Entertainment Featured at 2011 NAB Show

In a recent Content Insider newsletter, Andy Marken reported that the state of 3D filmmaking and broadcasting was one of the themes discussed at the 2011 NABShow® April 9-14 in Las Vegas.

NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) was originally formed to advocate for the interests of radio and television broadcasters. But like other associations, they have rebranded some programs to reflect the ongoing convergence in communications technologies. For example, the NABShow is now described as “the world’s largest electronic media show.” The event attracts more than 90,000 attendees from 151 countries and covers filmed entertainment and the development, management and delivery of content across all mediums.

In his newsletter, Marken reports that 3D filmmaker James Cameron chided broadcasters for not moving faster to make 3D content available on a wider range of screens. Here are some of the stats and projections cited at the conference:

  • There are about 25,000 3D movie screens worldwide (8,000 in the US).
  • Between 2008 and 2011, there were 160 3D movies released. About 140 3D movies will be released between 2012 and 2015.
  • In the US, 10 3D TV channels will launch this year; 25 will launch in 2012.
  • In the US, one-third of households will buy a 3D TV in the next three years.
  • In Europe, 42% of homes are projected to have 3D TVs by the year 2014.
  • In 2011, about 95 million 3D devices (including gaming devices, set-tops, and PCs) will be sold.
  • By 2014, the global installed base is projected to be nearly 900 million 3D-capable devices.

Of course, statistics and projections often turn out to be wildly optimistic. And Marken points out that a lot of these statistics assume that people will either accept the idea of wearing glasses for their viewing or the current “glasses-free” technology will be refined.

He also notes that if one-third of US households buy a 3D TV in the next three years, it means that two-thirds won’t.

Nevertheless, if you’re in the business of producing content, it’s important to pay attention how quickly new forms of technologies might be adopted. And to a certain extent, the adoption rate of 3D-capable devices will depend on the quality and variety of available content.

Other sessions at the 2011 NABShow focused on social media and mobile delivery of video, cloud computing and storage, and how the converging TV and film industries (Tellywood) could optimize their content assets.

There was talk about Google’s plans to produce content for YouTube and discussions of trends in the online video-viewing habits of different generations. More people are watching videos online than ever, but we’re also all watching more video content in general. Right now, people over 18 years old spend an average of five hours a day watching TV compared to three to five minutes a day watching online videos.

By the year 2014, eMarketer analysts predict that more than 90% of people from age 12 to 34 will turn first to the web to watch video content.


Useful Stats:Trends in E-Reading

Two separate reports from InfoTrends and the Association of American Publishers indicate that people are quickly adapting to new ways of reading.  Although the market for reading books and publications on screen is still small, it’s expected to grow rapidly as better devices and content continue to be introduced.

Paying attention to trends in e-reading and e-book-publishing can help you determine whether it makes more sense for you to self-publish and promote your own works or continue to seek a traditional publisher for your work.

InfoTrends E-Media Report

InfoTrends recently captured survey responses from 700 users of e-reading devices, including dedicated devices (such as the Kindle and Nook) and multi-purposes devices such as iPads, laptops, notebooks, and smartphones. The results from this survey suggest that e-reading is here to stay and poised for growth. InfoTrends analysts believe that within five years, one-third to one-half of all readers will be using electronic devices.

According to the study, the amount each survey participant spends on e-media is growing at 4.3% a year among those who use dedicated e-readers and 6.9% among those who use multi-purpose devices.

The report was conducted to help technology providers and publishers understand some of challenges and opportunities related to e-media hardware and content. For example, while there will be an expanding base of customers for companies that want to publish electronically, one of the challenges will be to determine which formats will most likely to be favored by the largest groups of readers.

Data and analysis in the report can help publishers understand how the rise of e-media will affect the purchase of hard-copy publications, what types of media are read most frequently on e-readers, the perceived shortcomings of the e-reading devices, and plans for new purchases of e-readers and multi-purpose devices.

Press Release: Reading E-Media: The End-User Perspective

Association of American Publishers

In the February 2011 sales report issued by The Association of American Publishers (AAP), e-books ranked as the number-one format among all categories of trade publishing (adult hardcover, adult paperback, adult mass market, children’s/young adult hardcover, children’s/young adult paperback).

Sales of e-books in February 2011 were $90.3 million, which is 202% higher than in Febuary 2010. The association attributes this surge primarily to a high level of buying by consumers who had received e-readers as gifts. Other factors contributing to the growth include the expanded selection of e-readers introduced for the holidays and the availability of more titles as e-books.

Some publishers who contributed to the study said e-books are generating fresh consumer interest in “backlist” titles (e.g. books that have been in print for at least a year).  Many publishers noted that e-book readers who enjoy a newly released book will frequently buy an author’s full backlist.

According to Tom Allen, president and CEO of AAP, “The February results reflect two core facts: People love books and publishers actively serve readers wherever they are. The public is embracing the breadth and variety of reading choices available to them. They have made e-books permanent additions to their lifestyle while maintaining interest in print-format books.”

The AAP monthly sales data represents data provided by 84 U.S. publishing houses representing major commercial, education, professional, scholarly, and independents. Data on e-books comes from 16 houses.

For the months of January and February, 2011, the sales of print books fell to $441.7 million, down 24.8% from the amount of print books sold in January and February, 2010. By comparison, the sale of e-books for January and February 2011 totaled $164.1 million, up 169% over the same two-month period in 2010.

Press Release:  E-Books Ranks as No. 1 Format Among All Trade Categories for February 2011

How The Transformation of Publishing Might Affect The Careers of Creatives

WRITERS. DESIGNERS. At the inaugural Publishing Xchange Conference held in Washington, DC this week, some of the best and brightest analysts of the printing and publishing industries discussed some of the technologies that are totally transforming how content is delivered and consumed.  Their advice was intended primarily to help owners of traditional printing and publishing companies figure out how to revamp their business models.

Publishing Xchange ConferenceA lot of the advice given at the conference can also apply to creative professionals who sell writing, design, or photography services to publishers. You may want to adjust your own career objectives and business plans once you consider what the publishing landscape might look like two or three years from now.

A Quick Overview
Here’s what I learned in three different sessions: The consumer is king. Content is king. Data is king.

So which is it? Publishing’s future will probably be ruled by all three. Feedback and data supplied by consumers will dictate the type and quality of content that gets produced and delivered.

Most speakers agreed that the iPad is a real game-changer. Its full effects on printing and publishing are only beginning to be understood. For one thing, media tablets such as the iPad open up whole new ways for publishers and advertisers to engage with readers, measure their behavior, and deliver targeted advertising. Here are some of the other themes that emerged from the discussions.

The publishing universe is expanding very rapidly and in unpredictable directions. Today, anyone and everyone can publish, distribute, and monetize content. New groups of publishers include corporations (who once supplied most of the advertising revenue to magazine publishers) and authors (who supply the content from which book publishers earn their revenues).

The demand for content is growing. Smartphones and iPads have made the Internet portable. Because we are connected all the time everywhere we go, we expect instant and constant access to entertainment, news, educational material, social networks, product information, and advice that can help us make more informed choices.

 Print is not dead, but it will be regarded differently in the future. Books and magazines will be printed in shorter runs, with more visual content and higher quality paper. Printed pieces will be viewed as more permanent, physical objects. In cross-media marketing, various forms of printed communications will be used in coordination with digital tools.

More businesses are adopting data-driven cross-media marketing. Every individual has their own preference about how and when they want to be reached.  Cross-media marketing helps ensure that the right message reaches the right person through the right medium at the right moment when they’re ready to make a buying decision.

Data is becoming increasingly important. The quality and freshness of the data collected and stored will determine the cost-effectiveness of cross-media marketing. With the right data, marketers can reduce the overall volume of marketing materials that must be produced and distributed.

Magazine publishers and advertisers will use more sophisticated data analytics. Instead of simply measuring how many people are reading content, they will want data that tells them more about each individual who clicks on the content.

Businesses now realize that people visit sites for different reasons. The key is to determine which 10 to 15% of site visitors can be converted into paying customers.

Publishers who use Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite to produce magazines for the iPad and other tablet computers will be able to get a real-time picture of how readers are interacting with each story or ad in the publication. Advertising can be delivered based on the demographics and interests of the reader.

How publishers sell advertising will change. Publishers will no longer sell ad space. Instead, they might sell advertising based on the type of content that will be published.

Currently, ads must be reformatted from standard PDFs into a multitude of formats for tablets and smartphones. This is a challenge that Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite also helps address.

Over the next few years, publishers will continue to derive less of their income from print advertising. So, they will need to find supplementary or alternative sources of income. For example, the National Geographic Society produces TV programs, educational resources, DVDs, games, maps, travel guides, museum exhibits and much more.

Branding matters. Consumers will turn to the brands they trust to consistently provide the type of content they want. It doesn’t matter if the brand originated as a newspaper, magazine, book, or TV show, because the distinctions between media types are disappearing.

One dilemma that digital-content producers face is determining where to reset the boundaries between editorial content and advertising. To what extent can they integrate advertising into their content without losing the brand trust and loyalty of their readers?

The rules of the game are still being written. Technology is changing so quickly that printing and publishing may be in a permanent state of transition. Constant innovation will be required in terms of products, services, workflow, and business models. Consider this: Three of the most disruptive influences in the communications field (Facebook, Twitter, and the iPad) were all introduced within the last five years. We can’t even predict what new technologies might arise over the next five years.

New types of businesses will emerge from the chaos. Some publishers will continue to aggregate and distribute branded content. Others might set up systems that make it easier for individuals to publish and distribute their own content. Still other companies are making it easy for publishers in the U.S. to outsource routine digital-imaging and content-production tasks to companies in India or other nations.

Advice for Publishers and Print Providers
Here are some of the tips that were given to publishers and print-service providers. (And yes, some of it also applies to creative professionals who sell their services to publishers.)

  • Remain flexible.
  • Be willing to try new things.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail at some things.
  • Use data extensively (both for targeting your messaging and measuring what works).
  • If you find something that works, keep doing more of it.
  • Use your “artistic vision” to look for opportunities that others haven’t yet recognized.

Advice for Creatives
I’ll be following up with some of the outstanding, insightful analysts who spoke at the Publishing Xchange Conference to see if they have any tips to add to this list, but here are a few of my own thoughts:

Never stop learning. Printing and publishing companies will need staff employees and freelancers who are willing and able to continually learn new skills. Remain curious about the many different ways a new technology might be used.

Demonstrate your value to employers in a positive way. When creatives are perceived as being “difficult” or resistant to change, they risk being the first to be let go when a publisher decides to outsource more tasks to workers in other countries. The more you are viewed as a supportive and talented team player, the more likely it is that you will be reassigned to more challenging projects, or asked to help incorporate the next round of technological innovations.

Prepare to have your work more closely measured. If you don’t already publish a blog, start one. Blogging is a great way to learn the basics of analytics. You may experience an almost Pavlovian response after seeing those first encouraging spikes in traffic and favorable feedback to certain posts. Analytics can be weirdly motivating.

Devote chunks of your time to creating and marketing some personal projects. This can be a stress-relieving way to fulfill your need for self-expression and create work that reflects your vision and capabilities. But it can also make you appreciate some of the hard realities of developing a profitable business.

Where’s the Humanity?
At one point during an in-depth discussion of analytics, one brave soul stood up and asked: “Won’t all this emphasis on data inhibit creativity?”

Depending on the nature of your employer or client, an over-reliance on reader data might temporarily stifle some creativity (and limit the ability to reach out to new readers). But publishers and printers will constantly need to experiment with new ideas.

And, my well-honed editor’s “intuition” tells me that data analytics will only confirm what creatives already know: People want content that reflects and respects our humanity. Consumers will engage with content that inspires, surprises, delights, amuses, intrigues, tantalizes, entertains, persuades, clarifies, educates, or evokes joy or wonder.

If you can prove that you’re exceptionally good at storytelling, crafting powerful imagery, stirring emotional connections, or stimulating reader participation, then your talents will definitely be in demand.

Future posts on this blog will delve into these topics in more detail, calling attention to some of the remarkable speakers from organizations such as Outsell, InfoTrends, The Seybold Report, What They Think?, and the IDEAlliance + IPA.

Kudos to Publishing Xchange Chair David Zwang and Questex Media Group for pulling together such a thought-provoking conference.

Useful Stats: Trends in the Wall Decor Market

ARTISTS. PHOTOGRAPHERS. If you ever wonder if the market is big enough to support the growing number of galleries that sell art and photography online, here are some encouraging numbers and trends.

According to a 2010 Unity Marketing Report on the market for Art, Wall Décor, Picture Frames, and Custom Framing, Americans spent more than $42 billion decorating their walls in 2009. But a closer study of 1,300+ recent buyers of wall décor showed that how consumers choose to spend their dollars to decorate their walls is changing.

“Americans are paying more attention to decorating their walls, but traditional art reproductions, for example, are being purchased less frequently today than they were in previous years,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing. She notes that “Consumers are investing more in original art which is more widely available as working artists become market focused.”

Wall decor in bedroomThe study found that: “Art buyers are creative people who strongly connect with the art they display on their walls.” They want to buy items that reflect their personal taste, and consider the art they hang on their walls to be an extension of themselves.”

  • 55 percent of survey respondents agreed that “The art I buy and display is an important outlet for my creative expression.”
  •  72 percent agreed that “When choosing art for my home, the way the piece makes me feel is most important .”

 The study was conducted to help art, wall decor, custom framing and picture frame manufacturers, marketers and retailers better understand the consumer market for their goods.

Danziger notes that “The art and wall décor consumer wants to feel that she is heard and understood by those wishing to sell her these most personal forms of expression.”

She believes “Success in the art, wall décor, and framing market will come to those marketers who know how to make an emotional connection.”

Unity Marketing specializes in providing consumer insights to marketers and retailers that sell luxury goods and experiences to the “masses as well as the classes.”