It was long expected of digital media to hasten within the marketplace an increase on demand, while at the same time decreasing its duration of use. This was common knowledge prior to our current mobile era (and even before the social era), and demand will continue to rise and the duration of consumption will continue to shorten with the next tech era (anyone?).
But in the image industry, asset monetization begins and ends with end user licensing. A la carte transactions are still the most dominant revenue-generating model, with buffet-style subscriptions presenting the largest disruptive force in an otherwise staid marketplace. It’s daunting for content owners/rights holders to play catch-up with consumption; outside of B2B licensing there’s no convenient tools for long tail monetization (i.e., derivative use, personal use). The most useful tool zeros in on infringement pursuit – which is non-scalable, not applicable to many business models, and can only guarantee mixed results.
What is missing is a model described in my article on a ‘VRO’, or something akin to ad revenue share based on traffic volumes. The more rights holders view their archives as something that can possibly – and perhaps primarily – drive editorial traffic, curiosity seekers, subject related products and/or services, it can not only form an incremental revenue stream, but also potentially ascribe greater value on a la carte (or subscription) licensing.