PMA & PMDA Announce: The Imaging AllianceEditor - 14th September 2016
In a significant swing of the industry pendulum, the PMA have announced a brand new partnership, and identity, along with the PDMA. Pixel investigates…
As if from nowhere, the team at Pixel Towers received the shock news that huge strides are being taken by the Photo Marketing Association International, (PMAI). Recognising the significant challenges that have faced the imaging sector over the last handful of years, their Board of Trustees announced that its members voted in favour of PMAI contributing its membership, web content and highly acclaimed InnovationNow business, along with their technical seminars, to form The Imaging Alliance, a brand-new industry association which has been set up with the PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA).
So what does this mean exactly? We heard from Gaby Mullinax, President of PMAI, who explained her thoughts on the announcement: “Our industry has forever changed and so too must its trade associations. Only a single global imaging industry association, like The Imaging Alliance, can effectively lead this revolution and meet the evolving needs of market participants; both new and old. PMAI’s diverse international membership combined with the continuation of unique events like InnovationNow and PIX 2015 in partnership with DPReview will get the new alliance off to a running start.”
“The Imaging Alliance will represent the voice of today’s dynamic imaging industry, providing a forum to bring together companies that offer products, services and applications and help promote the growth and development of a wide range of imaging applications.” – Jim Malcolm, President, The Imaging Alliance
Jim Malcolm, current president of PMDA and president of The Imaging Alliance said: “We are pleased that the management, Board and members of PMAI recognise the need for a single industry association and have moved to support the vision and goals of The Imaging Alliance,” adding that “with PMAIs members and successful programs, The Imaging Alliance will effectively represent the voice of today’s dynamic imaging industry, providing a forum to bring together the wide spectrum of companies that offer products, services and applications and help promote the growth and development of a wide range of imaging applications.”
Pixel caught up with the UK’s former PMAI, and now representative of The Imaging Alliance UK, Don Kennedy:
Pixel: This announcement is truly significant for the PMAI as we know it Don; can you tell us how long this new collaboration has been in the pipeline?
Don Kennedy: The PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA) initiated discussions with PMAI last summer. With the industry changing, both boards thought it would make sense for the industry to have one strong trade association that could serve both manufacturers and retailers, with the added benefit of bringing the many factions of the industry together under one umbrella. The plan began to take shape at the beginning of 2016, when PMAI agreed to transfer some of its most valuable assets to the PMDA, in order to form The Imaging Alliance. The formation of The Imaging Alliance was formally announced in July.
Pixel: The press release that we received stated that current PMDA and PMAI members will automatically become members of The Imaging Alliance for the remainder of this calendar year. Just to clarify that this will extend to UK members?
DK: Absolutely correct – all current UK members will become members of The Imaging Alliance and will remain so until December 31, 2016, at which time they may renew their affiliate membership.
Pixel: So we’ve heard about some of the physical activities that the US will be driving, such as the InnovationNow and PIX 2015 events, what physical activities can we expect to see from the UK arm of The Imaging Alliance over the next 6/12 months?
DK: The legacy activity of the PMDA has been more focused on philanthropic programmes, such as their Portraits of Love programme, which offers free family portraits for military families and has been working with the Children’s Cancer Association to donate cameras for their families. PMAI was stronger in offering programs such as InnovationNow. The plan is to continue on both fronts, and to look into offering international programs as well.
Pixel: And can you outline some of the headline benefits that previous PMAI UK members can expect to receive from The Imaging Alliance and what, specifically, will be new?
DK: We are in the process of resurrecting the CPC (Certified Photographic Counsellor) program in the US, and hope to extend that to Europe as well. In addition, Imaging Alliance members will be receiving free research reports on the state of the industry and other “snapshots” throughout the year – some of which will be supplied by the Consumer Technology Association in the US. We hope to work together to form new programmes that will benefit the industry world-wide.
Pixel: With regards to research and lobbying, is the UK office able to share resource from the global operation for the region and what issues are currently in hand?
DK: Industry-specific research will be commissioned via the US but I will continue with my lobbying and research initiative in the important area of ID photo services which are an important profit contributor to many retail photo businesses in the UK and beyond.
Pixel: And what issues do you see The Imaging Alliance championing on behalf of the UK Photo Trade in the coming months?
DK: My specific focus has been, and will continue to be, dealing with the UK Government departments regarding their plans for digital ID photos. I have been in contact with Ministers, MPs, HM Passport Office, DVLA, Government Digital Services and Home Office officials, etc. and I believe that their current plan to accept digital ID photos directly from applicants is seriously flawed because of the inherent quality and – most importantly – security issues involved in their proposal. I have presented a solution to the Home Office which addresses both of these concerns whilst also meeting their principal objectives and which also preserves this important aspect of business for the whole photo industry, not just The Imaging Alliance members.
Pixel: So the landscape has shifted with regards to the team in general; can you let us know where this leaves (ex PMAI President) Gaby Mullinax, now that Jim Malcolm has been announced as the President of the Imaging Alliance? Will Georgia McCabe still be involved with the operation?
DK: Jim Malcolm is the President of The Imaging Alliance, and Jerry Grossman the Executive Director. Gaby has decided to become an advisor to the new board, to allow her to concentrate on her growing business at Fullerton Photographic. Georgia has decided not to continue her affiliation but will certainly be called upon from time to time for her advice.