We covered Demotix a while back when they launched. Since then they appear to be slowly cracking the business model of a crowd-sourced news, pictures and video agency, something that has been tried before to limited success.
It’s just announced a deal with Publish2 News Exchange where it will distrubute content. That means a much wider distribution for Demotix via Publish2, especially to the cruciual US market. With the addition of Demotix to News Exchange, newspapers will also be able to buy photos a la carte.
“Street journalism”, enabling photographers on the scene of major news events to sell their photos to news organisations, is a speciality of Demotix. It splits the revenue with photographers 50/50 each time the photo is sold (major photo agencies take a much larger cut and only pay photographers once). Photos sourced from Demotix have appeared on the front pages of New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, and The Guardian. Turi Munthe, CEO and founder, describes Demotix as “the freelancer’s AP”. It has 3,000-odd global contributors in 190 countries around the world, and a 250,000-strong picture archive. It’s also growing packing 20,000 editorial images and videos right now.
I think it’s facinating that while Wikileaks is causing a storm of controversy at a sort of top-down level, Demotix is the kind of organisation that is re-enabling journalism at the street level.