The UK’s National Union of Journalists is seeking assurances from PA Media Group following its acquisition of Alamy.
PA Media Group, formerly known as the Press Association, acquired the photography agency Alamy last week, although the impacts on staff and freelance photographers is not yet known.
The NUJ has written to the PA Media Group asking for a meeting with Clive Marshall, the group’s chief executive and demanded that its members be treated fairly.
Natasha Hirst, chair of the NUJ’s Photographers’ Council, said: “The NUJ is extremely concerned that the announced purchase of Alamy by PA Media Group will result in diminished returns for photographers who contribute to Alamy’s archive and live news service. Alamy’s success as a picture library was founded on giving photographers more control and a higher percentage for the sale of their images, and while this has decreased due to market pressures, the current commission of 40-50 per cent is still much higher than many other stock agencies.
“Many of our photographer members rely on Alamy news and stock sales to boost their income. At a time when editorial and PR photographers are under increased financial pressure, the uncertainty caused by any new ownership is likely to lead to photographers looking to find alternative markets for their stock images or live news photographs. Without the creative talents of its freelance photographer contributors, Alamy would not exists, let alone thrive.
“While the NUJ welcomes the assurance from PA Media Group that it has no current plans to change prices or terms, it will be writing to the new owners seeking a meeting for guarantees around its future direction.”
The real concern with the merger is that there is a very real prospect of an over-supply situation developing, where photographers become duplicated at news and noteworthy events, and thus either reducing the numbers of viable photographers nationwide, or putting a squeeze on the value of the photographs presented by freelance photographers.