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Growing or Shrinking?

By: Cornelius - On: 24/10/2007 17:18:52 - Comments: 4

I haven't posted for a while now, but I have noticed when looking around the forums and chatting to cartoonists that there is still a feeling amongst some that the cartoon market is shrinking. As it seems fairly self evident that the market is actually growing I thought it worth giving my two cents worth (that's a penny for my thoughts at current exchange rates).

I haven't posted for a while now, but I have noticed when looking around the forums and chatting to cartoonists that there is still a feeling amongst some that the cartoon market is shrinking. As it seems fairly self evident that the market is actually growing I thought it worth giving my two cents worth (that's a penny for my thoughts at current exchange rates).

It is certainly true that some of the traditional markets have altered. Some magazines (such as Punch in the UK) have ceased publication and some newspapers have reduced the number of cartoons they carry. Cartoons compete against other forms of graphical features such as photo montage so it is understandable that with a fixed amount of space there would be some decline. That is not to say that cartoons are not still prominent in many newspapers and magazines, you only have to look at Matt on the Telegraph or the importance of cartoons to the Spectator or the New Yorker to see that.

The uses for and the style of cartoons that the public want do change though. Punch may have gone out of fashion, but Viz is still a very popular humour magazine in the UK. Magazines and Newspapers may have more choice in the style of graphical content they publish, but then previous generations of cartoonist did not have the internet and therefore direct contact with their public.

The internet has increased markets for all sorts of uses including private, educational, and presentation ones, web sites and private commissions. In addition every organisation/company on the planet can now have easy access to cartoonists that they wouldn't have had before. Cartoonists would have had no way of contacting small print/marketing/publishing companies or necessarily find the right art buyer at the right time prior to the internet, but now they can. The internet also means that cartoonists are no longer restricted to just their own national borders, but can sell more easily to the publications of other nations. This is especially valuable to English speaking artists as they can tap into markets from the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, South Africa and Australia to name a few.

Possibly more importantly, Cartoonists can also re-license work they have already created through organisations such as ourselves. An image library for cartoons did not really exist prior to the internet so cartoonists had little opportunity to relicense images regularly in the way they do now. In addition the opportunity to get royalties for one off merchandise use could not have existed at all without cyberspace.

Sales Growth Cartoon
A look at our own books and the statements we send out to artists on both sides of the Atlantic tells us that we pay sizeable sums to cartoonists on a monthly basis for licensing cartoons in ways that just didn't exist in the days before the internet. If you add to this cartoonists own work generated by their own web and other marketing as well then, I would happily argue that the total market size for cartoons is bigger than it used to be. I would also argue that it is more democratic. The era before the internet often meant that most of the money in the industry went to a few 'names'. Whilst it is still true that quality wins out, there is now more opportunity for the new and upcoming artists to have their work seen and bought than ever before.

Obviously this is only a point of view and not all cartoonists will agree, but I hope it sparks debate and I would be interested in any feedback artists have.

Comments

 
By: skai
On: 08/06/2008 21:04:53
The uses for and the style of cartoons that the public want do change though. Punch may have gone out of fashion. Magazines and Newspapers may have more choice in the style of graphical content they publish, but then previous generations of cartoonist did not have the internet and therefore direct contact with their public.

___________________________
skai
 
By: Dan
On: 27/10/2009 13:27:54
There is definitely a shift in the last several years where the print market for gag cartoons has declined, yet increased in other areas. The print market declined gradually as the internet became more popular as an alternative source for advertising (for publishers) and marketing (for cartoonists). The print markets also had to pay more for paper costs to print, and then mailing rates also increased...so alot of factors have come into play not to mention the overall collapse of the economy (although that could be worse). Cartoons seem to be flourishing online whereby artists can now find niches for their material and even "syndicate" their content.
 
By: Flash cartoon animator
On: 25/04/2011 20:53:18
interesting

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