Snapchat worth $10 billion?

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snapchatYou know what we always say about headlines ending in question marks?
(The answer is “No.”)

Nonetheless, Bloomberg reports instantly-disappearing-image communications app Snapchat is courting investors to the tune of many multiples over the crazy amount Facebook already offered a few months back.

The Snapchat mobile messaging application is being looked at by Alibaba Group Holdings, the report says. “If the funding is completed, Snapchat would join a small group of technology startups that are valued in the eleven-digit range.” (After Airbnb, Dropbox, and Uber.)

Bloomberg adds that “Snapchat’s popularity has continued to grow, with people sending more than 700 million disappearing “snaps” a day and more than 500 million stories viewed daily.”

Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion last year. Alibaba is China’s largest e-commerce company.

Meanwhile, the company Facebook did buy is launching another Snapchat competitor: Instagram’s bolt is a one-touch photo and video messaging app.

It’s launching in Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand, TechCrunch reports, adding, “Bolt is barging into the already extremely crowded photo and video sharing space. Beyond Snapchat, Taptalk, Mirage, Twitter, Vine, and a slew of international messaging apps, Facebook itself already offers News Feed, Messenger, Groups, Paper, Slingshot, WhatsApp, Instagram’s feed, and Instagram Direct.”

 

Canon cuts forecast, debuts two long-zoom models

Canon PowerShot SX400

Canon PowerShot SX400

The latest compact from Canon zooms 42x with optical image stabilization.
The PowerShot SX520 HS’s Zoom Framing Assist feature “intelligently controls the lens,” Canon says, “making it easy to locate the main subject by zooming out, and then zooming back in quickly and automatically for dramatic close-ups with face detection where applicable.” The $400 camera has a16-megapixel sensor and captures 1080p video — and its Hybrid Auto mode “creates a beautifully stabilized HD video clip (up to approximately four seconds) every time a user shoots a still image, then compiles the clips into a single movie that forms a “highlighted reel” for the day.”

Canon also debuted the PowerShot SX400 IS, with a 30x zoom, for $250.

“Our goal is to provide people who are passionate about photography with the imaging tools they need to capture the moments that inspire them,” the company says.

 

Meanwhile, the company lowered its full-year sales forecast citing slowing demand for standalone cameras.

Sales are projected to be $37 billion for the current fiscal year, Bloomberg reports, a 2.1 percent cut from the previous forecast. “Smartphones packed with advanced sensors and lenses are winning customers and cutting demand for cheaper compact cameras,” the report notes. “Canon sold 2.3 million compact cameras in the second quarter, a 36 percent decrease from a year earlier. Sales of the company’s single-lens reflex cameras dropped to 1.7 million from 2.1 million. Industry-wide, digital camera shipments declined about 35 percent from a year earlier in the first five months of 2014, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association.”

 

“Action camera” sales climbing

gopro hd cam

gopro hd camWhile the term implies that the rest of don’t get off the couch to take a photo, “action cam” is both a popular phrase and growing product category.

Market researchers at Futuresource Consulting report the Action Camera market will reach 9 million units in 2018. Also, “GoPro continues to maintain its position as the dominant market leader, despite a growing number of vendors vying for market share,” the survey finds.

“Worldwide demand for action cameras reached almost 5 million units in 2013,” the company adds, “which represented annual growth of 47 percent.”

Why the growth? “The relative importance of outdoor pursuits,” the analysts say, as well as “propensity to spend on emerging CE categories, and the use of social media are some of the main drivers of demand for action cameras.”

In 2013, Future Consulting adds, the majority of sales were for consumer applications, such as sports enthusiasts. The remainder was for professional applications, predominantly TV production.

A 20-page report provides an assessment of the market, forecasts to 2018, profiles the key regions, and reviews the latest developments in the competitive landscape, retail distribution, and product features.

 

Liberty marks 30th anniversary

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libertyLiberty Synergistics is celebrating 30 years in business. Ron Green founded Liberty in 1984, initially as a supplier of plastic and stainless steel ball bearings to the photo and motion picture industries. Over the past 30 years, Liberty has grown significantly to meet the product, parts and accessories needs of wholesale and retail image processing companies across the USA and internationally. In recent years, Liberty added a fulfillment division, ivoke, making millions of personalized products. ivoke is a production and fulfillment powerhouse, working behind the scenes of many companies, brands, photographers and artists.

“We are continuing to realign our product offerings to include all the new innovative products that allow us to personalize our lives through imaging,” comments Green, CEO.

As a testament to Liberty’s commitment to the evolving imaging and personalization industry, the Company is launching a new website, www.Liberty2Create.com, in August. Using the latest web and e-commerce technology, the new site offers a broad array of products to help imaging and personalization companies grow their revenue. From wide format printing to sublimation, direct print and mounting, Liberty2create offers a broad line of products to help labs increase their revenues and provide new and differentiated products to their customers.

Check back often, as the site will continually be updated with how-to videos, new products, and more.

Short videos: Use Vine to build your brand

samsung's vine

samsung's vineVine’s looping six-second videos can help marketers spread their messages across social media in innovative ways says author Bob Cargill, who offers 10 ways to use Vine in your own campaign.

“If you really want to make a splash in the social media waters, you should try making videos with the mobile app Vine,” says Cargill, who is director of social media at Overdrive Interactive. “Sure, with more than 1 billion unique users visiting the site each month, your potential audience on YouTube is going to be gargantuan. And with more than 150 million monthly active users on Instagram, you’d be hard-pressed not to experiment there as well, even if your videos can only be up to 15 seconds in length. If you want to socialize with all the cool kids, however, you can’t overlook Vine, where more than 40 million registered users, are telling their stories in short, continuously looping six-second videos.”

Among his 10 tips are:
1. It’s Easy to Use.
2. It’s Quick to Digest.
3. It’s Spur of the Moment.
4. It’s Convenient.
5. It’s Instructional.

Read details on all 10 here — with example videos.

 

In memoriam: George Champagne Sr.

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obit_photoGeorge Champagne passed away June 6 at the age of 89. He was owner, with his wife Irene, of Champagne Studios in Pawtucket, R.I. for 22 years, and co-owner of Abar Color Labs of Providence, R.I., for 32 years. He served the industry in many capacities all throughout his career, including as president of the Association of Professional Color Labs (APCL), the precursor of the Association of Imaging Executives (AIE), in 1988-1989. He also received the PMA  Distinguished Service Award in 1998.

He is survived by his children, George R. Champagne (Nancy); David G. Champagne (Linda); Diane Neligon (Thomas); Jean Kruzan (Bradley); Jacqueline Schlageter (William); and the late Suzanne Padien (Richard); 14 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

Get your events in front of photo enthusiasts — for free — in The Big Photo Show community

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TheBigPhotoShow_verticalAs you’ve all heard, The Big Photo Show in Los Angeles was a huge success, drawing thousands of people to photo shoots, demos, workshops, and exhibits.

Luckily, millions of photo enthusiasts around the globe don’t have to wait for a local PMA consumer event or even live near one. They can visit www.thebigphotoshow.com 24/7 year round, and share their passion for photography, enter contests featuring great prizes, and enjoy videos and articles from photography experts like Erin Manning, Mark Comon and Duane Cassone.

They’re also looking for photo events, classes, and manufacturer demo/shoots: add yours to the Event Calendar so photo enthusiasts can see what’s happening near them.

It’s easy – just create a free basic account and then add your details to the Calendar of Events while logged in.

We’re delighted to provide The Big Photo Show website as one of our many member benefits, connecting our PMA members with photo enthusiasts and promoting the photo-imaging industry worldwide. Be sure to spread the word to all your customers!

Microsoft and Canon cross-license patents

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Canon logoMicrosoft and Canon say their “broad patent cross-licensing agreement” shows a “collaborative approach …to deliver inventive technologies that benefit consumers around the world.”

The agreement covers “a broad range of products and services each company offers, including certain digital imaging and mobile consumer products.”

Microsoft adds that since it launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, “the company has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements.”

The full announcement is here.

Shutterfly service for sale?

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shutterfly logoReportedly, leading online photofinishing service Shutterfly is seeking buyers.

Bloomberg reports Shutterfly “is working with boutique investment bank Qatalyst Partners to find buyers for the company, according to people familiar with the matter… Potential acquirers include private-equity firms as well as e-commerce and Web storage companies, they said.”

Shutterfly’s shares rose on the news: The Redwood City, California-based company is now valued at about $1.9 billion, the report adds.

Shutterfly “has been boosting sales at the expense of profits,” Bloomberg notes. “First-quarter revenue climbed 17 percent to $137 million from a year earlier, while the net loss widened to $34.2 million from $12.4 million. This year, the company may post the first annual net loss since its 2006 initial public offering, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.”

Here is the full story.

 

The July/August issue of PMA magazine is now available

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Magazine_issue072014_700x454The July/August issue of PMA Magazine – Connecting the Imaging Communities is live and online.

In this issue, discover the excitement of The Big Photo Show LA 2014! Read about all the opportunities this event, held in May, brought to photo enthusiasts and imaging businesses; check out interviews with attendees; and read (and even watch) interviews with exhibitors.

In addition, this issue revisits retailers we interviewed a year ago about getting consumers to make prints and photo products from mobile images. Discover what a huge difference a year has made in technology, ease of use, and big profits.

Also in this issue:

  • Hans Hartman of Suite 48 Analytics reveals trends in mobile photography and output
  • LifePics is betting on 3D printing
  • The 2014 AIE Future Imaging Summit panel on output explains current trends
  • Panasonic’s Darin Pepple explains how 4K and hybrid photography are changing the game
  • How the Tran family escaped terrors in Cambodia – then built one of the most successful imaging businesses in Australia
  • In the U.K., The Photography Show picks up where Focus on Imaging left off