Digital Economy and Global Transformations in the Trade of Photography 2018

Upcoming Conference on 5 Feb 2019, Heidelberg University

Digitization and new business models have strongly changed the global trade of stock images. With over a decade of research experience, the Global Stock Image Market Research Group (GSIM) at Heidelberg University invites practitioners, researchers and industry experts to attend a half-day conference on current developments of the stock image market and future challenges for picture agencies regarding copyright, business models, and global markets. The conference takes place on 5 February 2019, 2-6 pm, at Heidelberg University in Heidelberg. Speakers include Sylvie Fodor (Executive Director of CEPIC), Lars Bauernschmitt (University of Applied Science Hannover), and Johannes Glückler & Robert Panitz (Heidelberg University). To register for the conference, please send a short note to Ute Bechberger until 31 January 2019. We are looking forward to seeing you in Heidelberg.

2pm | Introduction

2:15 pm |Sylvie Fodor
How much value for visual content providers is there in the digital economy?

Images are spread through search engines, social media platforms and other online aggregators. Approximately 85% of the images provided by digital search engines are illegal copies. Once an image is uploaded to a website or legally embedded it is shared countless times, resulting in economic losses of several thousand euros per picture. With their success based on the publication and distribution of unlicensed images, large social media platforms have been hiding behind safe harbor provisions and public domain justifications to rights holders for the use of their intellectual property rights or have not compensated them at all in recent years. Thus, the World Wide Web is flooded with unlicensed content, depriving rights holders of a source of revenue. This talk focuses on the "free availability" of images, the resulting economic value and the decline and transformation of an entire sector.

3:30 pm |Lars Bauernschmitt
Stock photograpy: growing importance, declining value

One way of attracting attention to messages is to translate the content into images as they directly affect our perception. However, images are also assets. Digitization changed the image market completely in the last 30 years. Traditional businesses have disappeared while new companies, originally from outside of the industry, have become global players. Established business models become increasingly questioned. Image providers and producers experienced this structural change forced by digitization earlier than economic players in related sectors leading to a paradox development. Whereas the importance of images is constantly increasing, fees are falling. However, new revenue models conceptualize images as instruments of value creation and not as traded goods. This points to the question: which images will guide our perception in the future?

4:15 pm |Johannes Glückler and Robert Panitz
Digitization, the rewiring of networks, and new spatial divisions of labor

Digital technologies have changed the geographical expansion of production and the distribution of creative goods and communication leading to a new social and geographical division of labor. Simultaneously, the number of trade fairs and congresses has increased indicating an unbroken necessity for face-to-face contact. Here, it is an unresolved question how physical encounter affects the evolution of global networks in a digital industry and what its consequences are for regions and countries? Drawing on the case of the stock photo trade, we illustrate three findings about the dynamics of digital global market networks: First, we show how temporary proximity in congresses facilitates the rewiring of interfirm networks and long-distance learning. Second, we demonstrate how the global value network is constituted by a clear-cut social division of labor between picture agencies that reflects specialized positions of countries in the global value network. Third, we reconstruct how the relational work of making and dissolving relations leads to the economic upgrading of countries from peripheral to more central positions in the global network.

5:00 pm | General Discussion

Prof. Dr. Johannes Glückler (Heidelberg)
Dr. Robert Panitz (Heidelberg)

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