Mike Watson, CEO, Mike Watson Images arranged by Samantha Bruce.
Mike Watson Images is a group of experienced picture professionals whose aim is to create useable, relevant imagery. With our headquarters in the heart of the city of London, we distribute our product internationally to over 70 countries. Our production centers in the USA, Europe and Australia are shooting contemporary imagery which meets the commercial needs of clients on a global scale.
When did you start in the picture library business?
I started in 1985, where I worked for Keystone press selling news and features to the Fleet Street daily newspapers.
What were you doing before that?
I was at college studying politics and government.
How many employees do you have?
Less than we need.
Describe your day
I treat everyday like my last and respect every minute I have. I spend most of my time talking and hopefully motivating others who are far better qualified than me to do the things I can’t.
How involved are you in every day picture sales decisions?
I am involved at the Creative end of the business and spend much of my time working out what the picture sales of the future will be.
Is the future totally digital?
Yes. Until something better comes along.
Do you have any advice for a new picture library?
Understand what you are offering to the customer. Exploit your niche and don’t get distracted by everyone in the industry and what they are doing.
Which picture library web site has caught your eye recently?
I am a big fan of Blend and Veer. I admire what these two companies are achieving.
Which papers do you read regularly?
I read a cross section of news media, part of my education taught me that you should always read newspapers which have an opposite bias to your beliefs and in this way it gets your brain working.
What activities do you pursue when you are not at work?
I have 3 great children and a demanding wife. Enough said.
Which system do you use for your online library?
A proprietary model
Is it web based?
How many pictures do you sell overnight directly through your web site?
What percentage of your outgoings do you spend on marketing the library?
Where do you live?
How are your camera skills?
My wife takes all the pictures, my responsibilities are strictly bag carrying and lens changing, but not necessarily in that order.
What’s hot, what’s new?
In terms of RF photography not much.
Any last thought?
Wouldn’t be great if everyone in the stock photo industry would stop worrying about the guy next door and about all the things that might happen but which probably won’t.