Thursday, February 19, 2009

Making BAPLA fit for a 21st Century Recession

UK, FEBRUARY 2009 - The British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies is changing, and has today announced to members its plans to ‘evolve’ and reflect the needs of the current economic climate and to build on its lobbying presence. .

It has revealed a new set of objectives, at the heart of which is an attempt to attract more picture buyers to the BAPLA membership - and to seek and develop as many new revenue making opportunities as it can for members.

BAPLA’s new Executive Director Simon Cliffe replaced former CEO Linda Royles who resigned last year. Simon said: “The business model has changed. Actually, the business model is changing every day, and with that change comes fear but also opportunity and we need to ensure it’s the latter that BAPLA concentrates on. We can’t give members business, but we can do everything within our resources to help them help themselves develop more revenue opportunities.”

BAPLA is also working on plans to develop both its UK and international membership. It currently represents nearly 400 picture libraries with most coming from the UK and a handful from overseas.

Simon said: “We have to grow our membership and we have to make sure a decent percentage of that growth is international. A bigger and more diverse membership is critical for three reasons. Firstly, we can use it to encourage and attract more picture buyers – they will come to us through our activity, our website and the BAPLA Picture Buyers’ Fair. Secondly, representing a much broader membership makes for a much louder and a much braver voice on the lobbying stage. Potential changes to UK copyright laws and the Orphan Works debate are just two issues that could have a huge impact on our industry if we’re not heard. And whilst our focus is on helping our members unlock much needed revenue where possible – we absolutely have to build on the excellent work of Linda Royles who has already done so much for this industry. The third reason for expanding is the most obvious – it adds to our limited reserves so we can re-invest in our membership activity”

Part of BAPLA’s new plans involve the launch of a new Training Academy. The Training Academy is the umbrella for a number of courses being developed and executed by BAPLA. The first training session, “Turning your Business Global” is taking bookings now. Designed for the smaller members who’ve yet to break into the international market, the course will offer a mixture of group learning but more importantly bespoke one-to-one consultancy with our panel of industry and government experts. The experts will be offering advice on everything from relevant agents to target, available funding, marketing and international distribution.

Plans are also being developed for BAPLA’s Picture Buyers Fair. BAPLA Chairman Paul Brown said: “PBF 2009 is getting the same treatment as the rest of our activity, so we are working hard to ensure new image buyers are in attendance especially from sectors which are particularly relevant to growing members’ business. We are still taking bookings for exhibition stands and full details on booking both stands and attendance are available on our website. PBF 2010 will be different though. We will shortly be launching a consultation with members and other key stake-holders focussing on the 2010 event to create a new, relevant and innovative Picture Buyers’ Fair to take us into the next decade.”

With changes to membership benefits, BAPLA is aiming to concentrate on three areas; business support, business opportunities and increasing lobbying. BAPLA has invested in a new website referral system with the aim of pushing online traffic direct to the relevant members and the popular jobs page has been built upon with the inclusion of a new job seekers database. Plans are also being worked on to drastically improve communications for members with international agents and photographers.

Source: CEPIC

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