CrowdMedia to Disrupt Photojournalism Industry with Crowdsourced Social Pics


Attention photojournalists: As if times weren’t tough enough already, a new startup wants to replace your work with Twitter-based crowdsourcing.

CrowdMedia, which had something of a coming-out party recently at the Demo Day conference in Montreal, sifts through the average 150 million photos shared every day on Twitter for the .03 percent that are newsworthy, based on keywords and geolocation data.

Owners of those photos are then contacted by CrowdMedia with an option to submit the photo to organization’s photo pool (about 25 percent accept), which is perused by subscribing media outlets.


CrowdMedia charges $20 per photo for non-exclusive use ($10 for older images), with half going to the photographer.

The service launched in beta phase last month and has already placed numerous images, including shots of the Asiana airplane crash in San Francisco posted on Huffington Post within minutes of the event.


CEO Martin Rodan tells VentureBeat that selling exclusive rights to images may occasionally generate big checks for photographers and big traffic for media outlets, but the “let a thousand flowers bloom” approach works better overall.

”You can sell exclusivity for a couple thousand dollars, very rarely. But we know that we can sell a good shot a thousand times, and that’s more money than you can get by selling the rights exclusively … and wasting two days for the negotiations.”


Rodan says the company’s platform is about 75 percent built, with detection of fake images among the details to be worked out.

“Newsworthy,” of course, is a relative term. Images offered on the CrowdMedia front page Tuesday ranged from shots of pro-choice protestors to breaking coverage of the Weymouth Seafood Festival, but little to nothing about high-attention subjects such ongoing Egyptian political protests or the arrest of a Mexican drug cartel leader.

(via VentureBeat)

  • A.G. Photography

    Then the prices of cameras should also drop to under $500. ALL Canon DSLR series, Nikon and the likes. If we don’t get paid, then why should we pay such high prices for our equipment?

  • Antonio Carrasco

    Anytime a company uses the term “disrupt” you should read it as “put lots of people out of work”

  • David Liang

    What so you feel you’re getting screwed and so that gives you right to screw someone else? What you make has no bearing on the costs of manufacturing, marketing and distribution of cameras.

  • bob cooley

    What’s with all the alarmist headlines on PetaPixel lately? Nothing has proven that this will disrupt anything; then platform is only 75% built and you are already heralding it as a success and a disaster for traditional photojournalism? C’mon PetaPixel, you’re better than that…

  • Adapt

    Paying top dollar for photographs makes no sense business-wise if you can get what you need for far less. Consumers aren’t demanding top quality photos of news events anymore(on some occasions it IS appreciated). The news cycle is moving too quickly for quality to matter for most people.

    Accepting this sort of thing is the best path for photographers because it is hardly likely to go away any time soon. We can’t all just wish things were the same as they were 20 years ago.

    If photographers want to be paid to take great photos, they need to move to an industry where people still demand great photos, Photojournalism is no longer that place.

  • olafs_osh

    Ok, so from that database clients, who want to pay close to nothing will be getting cheap amateur photos. So? It is happening today and was here yesterday. Yes, occasionally there will be some pearl, but mainly it will be a dump of snaps. Those, who don’t want to pay more than a dollar per image, wouldn’t hire a photog anyways.

  • Dude

    David, you say Screw someone else.
    I say, Have no money with which to buy expensive cameras.

  • Tim

    This is not a new phenomenon. Professional photojournalism has been in decline for years now, i remember reading an article in The Times Magazine about it three years ago. But there are still situations where quality matters and professionals are used. For breaking news and other situations where speed and access play a part mobile phone shots fill that gap. It’s not that professional photojournalism is rapidly declining so much that smartphone sales and news coverage is rapidly increasing.

  • bob cooley

    I’m talking about this particular website, which isn’t a proven business (or even complete) model. I’m quite familiar with the Chicago layoff, and have friends that were caught in it. This specific site has nothing to do with that particular bit of nonsense by the S-T.

  • C.S. Jones

    Buy a used one.

    A camera that could take a great photo 3 years ago can still take one now.