The market for paparazzi photographs of celebrities has officially tanked. A recently conducted straw poll discovered that a celebrity shot now sells for 31 per cent less than it did in 2007. The PPI the Paparazzi Price Index has fallen dramatically, a picture may still be worth a thousand words but the ones being taken by the paparazzi are barely worth the effort of camping out on sidewalks, tailgating limos The recession is taking its toll on the army of photographers who leap from bushes when a celebrity strolls along
During the gold rush of celebrity photography between 2005 and 2007, magazines bid colossal amounts for key images. In 2007, Us Weekly’s annual photo budget was $8 million. Just over a year ago, People magazine in the US and Hello partnered up to pay $14 million for the first shots of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s newborn twins, Vivienne and Knox.
The high point or low point for celebrity nonsense came on February 16, 2007, when Britney Spears, in the midst of a breakdown shaved off all her hair. The price for that shot was $300,000. At the time, 20 per cent of all paparazzi coverage was devoted to Britney. X17 alone had 15 photographers devoted to tracking and photographing Spears’s every move.
So where has the money gone? Partly, it’s the recession. But the other factors at play is there are simply too many damn paparazzi and too few actual real celebrities. Hollywood studios became controlling about the behaviour of their young stars, and magazines got more canny about how they spent their photo budgets.
While blogs such as TMZ and Perez Hilton and thousands of others have diluted the cesspool, paying less for non-exclusive images, the new nature of the paparazzi is about volume.
“If you want to make $ you have to sell your picture to 50 websites.”
The way celebrities are treated in the media has changed, too.“There’s a recession and everyone is miserable and wants to be cheered up. People are tired of horrible stories and that has changed the tone of celebrity coverage. So does this mean the appetite for pictures of celebrities in their bikinis or staggering out of nightclubs is finally peaking?
“There are new emerging markets in China and India to Iran and 26 countries in Africa. New platforms like the internet and hand-held phones are taking over from traditional newspapers and magazines. Web video is exploding The market is changing, but people are always going to be fascinated a celebrity in crisis and in a nation of hypocrites the car wreck that is fame goes on and on just ask Tiger Woods.
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