A few weeks ago I wrote nOnRequest - This is Not Your Father's "Agency". Today, at the Microsoft Summit, I heard something remarkable, and it wasn't said once, it was said twice. David Norris, the head of OnRequest, after building a business around the CustomStock Model, whereby "up to five photographers" would produce an assignment, including expenses, and at most one would be paid (or none at all), said of the CustomStock model:
"that model was interesting, but didn't pan out."Well, of course it didn't. The fact that he didn't realize it at the outset belies his business accumen, me thinks, especially when every photographic group and trade organization was overly public in their declaring the idea a failure. Why didn't he listen? I can't help but wonder how his investors feel about how the basis for his company was an idea that "didn't pan out."? Perhaps the next step will be that they realize that the "ONREQUEST CUSTOM LIBRARY™" concept is nominally monetizable and a short term solution for these companies, who are not paying what these libraries should be worth. Over the long term, they are underestimating what it really costs to produce these materials, and it's just not sustainable at those low figures, unless you're spending your venture capitalists' money at a burn rate that will ultimately flame out.
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