/// Monetizing Photos and Video Clips in the New World of Bits
Icons copyright creadib As a disruptive technology, online photo sharing marked the end of the Kodak era and helped usher in Facebook, Instagram and dozens of other social media companies. But the landscape has changed quite a bit recently. Six years ago, the FlipCam was all the rage and RockYou and Slide were used to make online slideshows. Now, FlipCams are relics, RockYou has pivoted far from photos and the Google-acquired Slide.com URL doesn’t even work anymore. Even though online photo sharing is hugely popular, it’s still incredibly easy to end up in the industry deadpool because technology is moving so fast and the current business model options are limited. There’s no question that the market potential is huge. The photo/video category on iOS is the third most popular category, and hundreds of millions of people are capturing digital photos and video clips every day. Some people still want to print them on cards, t-shirts and other objects. But a fast-growing number are interacting with them solely on a screen, whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or TV. The world of photography is increasingly moving from one of atoms, things we can touch, to one of digital bits, things we can’t touch. Companies are being forced to figure out how to monetize photos in a world of intangible goods. With everyone running around taking, editing and sharing photos and video clips, the revenue should be flowing, right? Wrong. There’s a lot of “fool’s gold” in this industry. The easy part is attracting users, since photos have proven to be the most universal currency for driving social network virality. The hard part is figuring out how to build a vibrant business model around photos and video clips. Here are the five distinct approaches that companies are taking: Tangible Goods As the world goes digital there’s still a strong market for atoms-based personalized products with photos printed on them. It wasn’t that long ago that printing a photo on a pillow or wall mounted canvas was impossible for the average consumer.