Thursday, September 08, 2011

Reports: GCI said to be buying sports photo firm

Gannett is reportedly acquiring US Presswire, an Atlanta-based distributor of freelance sports photography that has been supplying images to the company under an agreement signed 18 months ago, according to two photo trade blogs.

In its report yesterday, Photo Business News & Forum cited individuals who participated in a conference call Tuesday night, and suggested the deal was part of USA Today Sports Network, a new venture the board of directors approved in July.

Photography at the Summit's blog published a brief report yesterday on a Presswire deal, but did not cite its source.

Neither GCI nor Presswire have announced any deal on their websites, however.

Photo Business News did not give a purchase price or any other terms.

Average 15K photos monthly
Presswire has been supplying photos to GCI on a trial basis since March 2010, according to this news release. Some of the images have appeared on USA Today's website, with sports stories such as this one.

The initial trial was to include all of Presswire’s daily coverage, from an average 15,000 photos monthly, across all collegiate and professional sports, the company said at the time.

Any deal would follow CEO Craig Dubow's pledge, during the second-quarter analysts conference call, to earmark cash for potential acquisitions in "the digital market." And it would follow other agreements between GCI subsidiaries and private content syndicates, such as DemandMedia and Religion News Service.

The USAT sports network is led by President Tom Beusse. Hired in January, he is to be responsible for overseeing business and strategy for national sports initiatives across USA Today, as well as Gannett’s 82 daily newspaper properties, 23 broadcast television stations, and


  1. Buckle your seat belts folks. The Beusse Express just took off. This is the signal we've been waiting to see. The haters will do what they do best but this is the real deal.

  2. You're kidding right? All the consolidations, layoffs, eliminations, and Gannett still can buy anything? I'm probably missing something but that stinks.

  3. 6:38: What frequently gets lost in the ongoing furor of this site is that GCI is still extremely profitable and throws off strong free cash, which is mostly committed to paying down the debt. No, I am not a troll and strongly support what Jim is doing here. But it's only in the minds of the present and ex-employees who try to clear their heads (vent their spleen?) here that GCI is nearing collapse and bankruptcy. Not even close to true. That's just a simple fact.

  4. Look at the thread SportsShooter web site about Gannett acquiring US Presswire. Read the post by Darren Carroll talking about the business model (or lack of) for photographers who shoot for US Presswire.

  5. 7:50 AM, I agree that Gannett is still very profitable. That is precisely what makes the layoffs, furloughs and cutbacks so morally bankrupt. If the company was circling the drain, those steps would be understandable, but under the present circumstances they're just wrong.

    As far as the Presswire deal goes, it's going to be interesting to see how this is handled especially at Gannett sites that also host or cover pro or NCAA Division 1 sports.

    For example, does this mean photographers in Detroit, Green Bay, Phoenix etc are going to send their photographers to the games and then put the photos on Presswire (and not contribute to AP) or does it mean they won't be sending their own photographers and will instead rely on the Presswire photographers, who are paid peanuts (currently about $100 per game now with no expense reimbursement)?

    Does this mean Gannett papers are going to by told they MUST use Presswire and then cuts will be made in what we pay to AP and Getty?

    Does this mean we won't be sending anymore sports photos to AP? That doesn't happen much at MLB or NFL games because AP staffs them, but it happens all the time WNBA, spring training and NFL training camp.

    Finally, how does this make financial sense? I know people are passionate about sports but the photo market is deeply depressed right now, worse than print media. Getty's not making any money and the other large agencies are partnering up with Corbis and AP so where does Gannett expect to make money from this?

    Furthermore, more and more sports bodies are taking over ownership and control of photos and write restrictions on use right into the credential agreement (that's why newspaper still photographers aren't allowed to shoot video at NFL games). If the big pro sports organizations (NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB) next year put into the credential agreements so resale of photos, one time use only in day after game coverage, (it won't happen next year but it could happen in the not too distant future) it will cut off the sports photo revenue stream overnight.

    The Gannett purchase of US Presswire leaves me scratching my head wondering, "What the hell were they thinking?"

  6. Headline should be:
    "Gannett creates another sweatshop for itself"

  7. This is typical of Gannett.

    They make this purchase and then rather come out and say something like, "Gannett and US Presswire today are happy to announce that .... blah blah blah." And then go onto to say something why this is a good move for both parties (although in truth it's a really good move for only the principals in Presswire, they walk away with the cash) the people in the CP sit on it with no public comment and lose control of the message.

    This is a communications company, you'd think they know that the first one out with the message controls the message.

  8. Once again folks can't wait to pile on and without knowing anything proclaim it's a dumb move. It's part of Beusse's overall plan. There wont be a broad announcement because the less the competition knows right now the better. Stay tuned folks. Hate if you want but this is a key building block

  9. Paul Johnson9/08/2011 10:47 AM

    My experience with Gannett is that EVERY acquisition is announced with gleeful forecasts of great synergy, huge influx of bucks. That is followed a few years later with the death of the acquired property after the only influx turns out to be inept Gannett mid-level managers from other properties promoted to the acquired property, which they proceed to "manage" right out of existence.

  10. Along the lines of 9:52 a.m., will the Gannett properties in the larger markets with pro team/large college team coverage eliminate photo department jobs and depend only on US Presswire freelancers?

  11. Not only has Gannett been mum on this, but Presswire is also silent. Their website,, has nothing on the sale.

  12. It is always possible that the two blogs' reports were premature or flat-out wrong.

    In any case, Gannett is only required to disclose deals like these when they hit certain thresholds. And even then, the news can be reported only to securities regulators, where it might get less attention.

    That's how GCI handled Saridakis' resignation last year.

  13. "It is always possible that the two blogs' reports were premature or flat-out wrong."

    You including yourself in this, since you apparently didn't do any research or digging to see if it was factual?

    This appears to be simple rumor-mongering, which is not what an actual reporter would do.

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  15. 1:34 You are encouraged to repost that, minus the making-fun-of-name part. (As noted here, inappropriate comments include those poking fun at names.)

  16. "this is the real deal"


    Its 2011 and PHOTOS are "the real deal".

    Don't consider me a hater, consider me a realist.

    Good luck with your photos venture..... *snicker*

  17. If this comPany specializes in professional sports photos why would a business want two photographers to cover the same event. I've seen a USAT and a Detroit Free Press photog at the same event. Why?

  18. I think the gist of the deleted post at 1:34 was Jim is using, at its root, unsourced information. There also was a reference to no stated purchase price, which is another red flag. A former business reporter should have spotted these things as credibility breakers.

    The part that got all of that deleted was an insult that was worthy of a small laugh.

  19. "I've seen a USAT and a Detroit Free Press photog at the same event. Why?"

    I'll field this one. The Detroit photographer could be aiming for the Detroit or Michigan angle, while the USAT photographer might be aiming for the national angle. Also, at a big event, two photographers have a better chance of covering different areas of the game.

    See, that wasn't so hard. People who are looking for conspiracy theories or something to pick at might have more trouble spotting the obvious.

    Jim, please delete worthless posts like the one at 2:59.

  20. 3:23 that's just plain foolish. I think if given the proper direction either of the two talented professional could complete both assignments. No need to be smug my friend. This is a discussion not an attack.

  21. 4:15, you've clearly never done anything in that area.

    Jim, please delete worthless posts like the ones at 4:15 and 2:59.

  22. I don't see why they are worthless.

  23. So 4:20 you believe that a highly skilled professional photographer couldn't shoot a photo of an NBA game from both a local and a national angle? Really? See I'd say the Free Press reporter could shoot for both. Talent is talent. It doesn't matter what your company badge says. Jim you've worked at both levels. What say you??

  24. (:52 am is the BEST post on this thread.
    Hit the nail on the head.
    Why would the bean counters pay for multiple shooters at an event?

    My bet: They won't.
    Another reason to justify cutting photo staffers with benefits. Especially the senior ones.

  25. 4:50 you have every reason to believe that.Binge in Beusse's plan he wants more assets on the field of play not less. I know there is absolutely no reason to belive that statement. But wait and see!!!

  26. 4:48, the fact you're asking Jim for a ruling proves you're out of your league here.

    Also, you're reducing this to the either-or type of discussion that earmarks someone who can't think. Could someone do both? Yes. Would it be better to divide the tasks? Certainly.

    Now, either argue that second point without crying for help or leave.

  27. 5:06 the discussion is about running a business. Why have two professionals from one company when you only need one. Redeploy one resource to another event. Double the content. You are correct, even a simply guy can understand that.

  28. Hey 3:23 P.M.: We already do double-duty at many assignments, shooting stills PLUS video. It's not easy, but we do the best we can. And honestly, why do you need a USAToday shooter and another Gannett-paper shooter at the same event? Unless you HAVE to have two shooters (and at football games, yeah, you do need two shooters), just have the Gannett-paper guy shoot a little more or turn in 10 more frames...sheesh. I always wonder why we don't use more of Gannett-produced content...except it's easier to pull AP or Getty than a having useful content service produced by Gannett.

  29. Hey, 7:00 and 7:32 -- a football game is a sporting event. No one ever specified what type of event was being debated here.

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious that two people would "double" the content by being at two events. Where would we be without those sorts of tips?

    (I'd add that because of the way pictures are generally allocated, you're not really "doubling" the content, but the masters of the obvious would stumble over that idea.)

  30. A second thread of comments on sportsshooter about this topic:

  31. THis isn't Beusse. This is David Payne creating a new wire. Sports is the low hanging fruit. Beusse is good but Payne is making it happen.

  32. Something is a little weird about this. There's still nothing on either on the Presswire or Gannett websites. The only source is the multiple photo blogs and websites that broke the news. I'm starting to wonder if something is holding it back. I know a couple of the Presswire photographers who participated in the conference call that Presswire management had with them. I believe the photographers but there's something off going on in that it hasn't been reported anywhere else yet.

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