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What will leaving the EU mean for UK photo libraries?

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First posted 24 June, the morning of the UK Leave result: With many UK photo libraries and agencies benefiting from EU cultural partnerships both in staff and grant funding will the Leave vote in the UK halt existing projects and business relationships?

PhotoArchiveNews.com emailed a few photo library owners early this morning (24 June) – lots are still considering what the vote will mean for their business. Email your ‘business’ thoughts and predictions: will@photoarchivenews.com

These in over the last few days:
Elbie Lebrecht Owner Lebrecht Music & Arts “As a small library two thirds of our staff are from the EU and well over 50% of our trade is outside the UK. Too soon to know what the implications will be for a small photo library. We are waiting for the dust to settle to see what will be left standing.”

Anthony Harris CEO Image Source: “An interesting question, I think that many of us in the stock business are able to mitigate the risk of these types of events as a result of our international business models. Image Source has a flourishing direct business, mainly dealing with customers in the UK, Germany and the US. The vast majority of our revenue is derived however through our network of distributors in 80 countries worldwide. Our largest market is in the US, which I imagine is true of most production companies and therefore we actually get to benefit through the exchange rate on a weaker pound.
We would all love certainty but at least for our business we are actually able to weather these changes and hopefully exploit them to the benefit of ourselves, photographers and customers.”

Daryl Bradford – MD – Camera Press: “In the short term, the immediate implication is the weakening of the pound against both the Euro and the Dollar, the two principal currencies in which we receive funds from overseas agents, who make up more than half our turnover. If exchange rates stay at current levels remains to be seen, but if they did, it would definitely benefit both Camera Press and our contributors. We know the currency markets do not like any degree of uncertainty and the timing, content and speed of exit negotiations once Article 50 has been invoked will presumably affect this.”

“In the medium to longer term, I wonder if the exit from the EU will push our main European markets Germany, France, Italy etc (further) into recession. This would have a negative impact on agents sales opportunities. We will have to wait and see.”

Craig Holmes Owner The Picture Pantry “We are eternally optimistic, and we do have a few hopes. Specifically, I hope VAT rules for trading with EU counties will simplify in the long term, as presently, this places unnecessary administrative requirements on us. As has already been touched on, the exchange rate for a weaker pound is a definite benefit to us, and our photographers, when trading with the US. Change brings opportunities with it, and we are keeping a close eye on markets to determine growth routes for The Picture Pantry going forward. Having a small team means we can start new projects very quickly, and have recently started a new image production route, working with existing recipients of EU funding. These institutions feel EU funding will be withdrawn soon, and as such, are already looking for new partnerships. Uncertainty in business and the economy provides opportunities for smaller libraries to thrive, and we try to embrace it.”

Lynne Bryant Owner Arcaid Images: “My overall concern is the industries relationship with CEPIC . CEPIC and BAPLA have always worked closely, sharing and lobbying for the benefit of European picture agencies. We ​ will be positive for Arcaid ​ and our future.​ Most of our revenue is from beyond the EU a weak pound makes our prices outside of the UK seem cheaper to buyers for direct sales and the dollars we get from big agents will go further. ( unless we get inflation ) Potentially the change will create more admin a​round our contributors and clients who are​ in the EU when we are out.
​We are lucky enough to be in an industry with global reach – we are not subject to trade agreements in quite the same way that manufacturers are. We are better placed than many to weather the changes.”

Gwyn Headley Owner Fotolibra (from the comments box below) “First three sales we made after we heard the Brexit news (which incidentally made me sick with despair, but that’s just me being personal) were all to the USA. Have you heard of sympathy buying before?”

Jon Mills SWNS: “We are very fortunate to have secured a six figure grant from the Google Digital News Initiative to develop an innovative syndication and distribution platform. That investment is secured and we are really excited about what we’re going to be able to offer freelance photographers in terms of transparent and rapid accounting. The next round of funding offered through the Google DNI closes on July 11 2016 and is only open to companies in the EU or EFTA. It would indeed be a loss to the UK news industry if people with good ideas were not able to apply for this generous support.”

• More comments uploading as they come in, so check back again. If you would like to add your business thoughts and predictions email me here: will@photoarchivenews.com or add them directly to our comments box below for approval – keep the theme on business please!

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