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Articles from January 2008
This week the Associated Press jump into election-dedicated media coverage with the launch of The Measure of a Nation. The yearlong multimedia project is billed as an unusual, regularly updated guide to the American presidency.
The first thing we need to recognize when talking about RM's future is that in nearly all cases, RM images are used in some type of printed product. Thus, the future of print -- and the realities of the Internet -- are of critical importance to the future of RM sales.
The Paris-based agency founded by HÃ©lÃ¨ne Roger-Viollet is turning 70. What started as 30,000 negatives housed in a small Parisian store has grown to an 8-million-image collection that documents over a century of European history. The agency plans a number of commemorative events throughout the year.
The American Society of Picture Professionals has opened registration for its fifth education conference. The four-day event will take place in Mesa, Arizona, starting on April 24.
This revised list of the worldâ€™s leading picture libraries and portals takes into account the many additions and corrections submitted by readers and provides a more accurate reflection of the industry.
A generation of post-World War II children is beginning to retire. Baby boomers account for close to 30% of the U.S. population and equally staggering percentages of many European and Asian countries. Their transition into retirement is anticipated to have a profound cultural and economic influence over the next 20 years.
One could understand why it might be necessary to license rights for lower rates in countries with lower overall standards of living. But that does not explain why one country's prices are significantly lower or higher than another's.
San Diego photographer Annie Libby says that all the major stock distributors misunderstand and often misrepresent the gay community, largely by equating homosexuality with sex. Libby's new venture, outLOUDstock, will endeavor to fill a lucrative, yet underserved, market niche by challenging typical visual stereotypes.
U.K.-based Science Photo Library chose PicScout's Image Tracker to monitor the online use of the 250,000 specialized stock images it represents.
Alamy had gross sales in Q4 2007 of $7,750,000, up from $7,506,000 in Q3 and up 22.5% overall for the year. Total revenue for 2007 was $29,254,226. Detailed statistics on the last two years of Alamy's operations are provided on its Web site.
SnapVillage, which has been building its collection since its June 2007 launch, is now serving image buyers worldwide.
Why is there such a big difference between the actual number of images on the Getty site and the number keyworded with an orientation? Getty responds.
In their drive to address the needs of the 3% of stock photography customers with the biggest budgets, RM sellers have ignored microstock buyers. They should be exploring new strategies, and viewing these buyers as an opportunity to expand their customer base and grow revenue.
To answer an ever-growing demand for video content from its clients, Newscom has added broadcast-quality video from Reuters to its array of text and visual content.
The New York-based micro-payment Web site Fotolia announced that it has passed the 3-million-image mark. At midday on Tuesday, the Fotolia home page advertised 3,010,147 stock images.
The newly launched Storyline Collection by Thought Equity Motion redefines stock footage for the advertising market. Created by agency veterans, the collection intends to reduce the costs and time involved in producing video-based ads, particularly those destined for online distribution.
Some photographers on the iStock (IS) forum are having great fun pointing out that they make more on iStock than the average Alamy photographer. They focus on the statement I made that "the average gross RPI for all images on the (Alamy) site is about $2.80." Since Alamy photographers get at least a 65% royalty, that comes out to a photographer royalty of about $1.80 per image annually.
Corbis says the skyrocketing global weight-gain is driving more people to leading healthier lives. Surpassed only by environmentalism, "globesity" was at the top of the Corbis list of cultural trends affecting visual communications during 2007.
Getty Images is on the auction block, hoping to be sold for more than $1.5 billion. Final bids are due by the end of January, but people briefed on the situation cautioned that it is unclear which firms would submit. Among those companies showing interest are private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Bain Capital.
Intellectual property owners the world over are grappling with format shifting, the consumer practice of making digital copies of works published in other mediums. Examples of format shifting include scanning an image from a book or copying a song from a CD to a computer. Both present significant challenges to artists in a global culture where technology advances at faster speeds than legal systems.
Munich-based PantherMedia has added English language and international e-commerce components to its stock-licensing Web site. Claiming the status of the first German midstock, the royalty-free agency is looking to expand into global markets.
According to WPP, the world's largest media buyer, the Internet advertising spend in Sweden in 2008 will surpass spending for television advertising. The same is expected to happen in the UK and Denmark in 2009.
On Jan. 14, Alamy posted a video of an event they hosted for contributors in November. During the presentation, CEO James West provided details relative to sales of the top 100 photographers and agencies represented on the site.
Vancouver-based maXx images has relaunched its Web site. The site is now fully e-commerce-enabled and offers access to over 3 million royalty-free and rights-managed images.
Corbis has entered into a new distribution agreement with Japan's amanaimages, a division of The Amana Group and the fourth-largest global player in stock licensing.
Founded in London in 2001 and now headquartered in New York, the World Picture Network has announced that it will discontinue its daily news-image feed as of February. WpN CEO Brian Miller said the feed, which distributed images shot on spec to breaking news outlets, was unable to compete with larger companies in a crowded industry.
CogniSign, a technology company that specializes in image and video search, has officially launched xcavator.net. The meta image-search engine exits beta testing with 6 million images, which represent the aggregate inventories of four microstock and two rights-managed stock agencies.
RM sellers have focused on the top of the market for so long they have lost sight of the whole market for stock photography. It's time for some outside-the-box thinking.
There appears to be little or no growth in the volume of uses at traditional prices. In addition, there is reason to believe volumes will decline. The dilemma for RM producers is how to expand their customer base without losing revenue from existing high-end customers.
According to 2007 data from Corbis, eco-friendliness translated into billions in global revenues. And this is only the beginning, according to numerous sociologists, futurists, trend gurus and environmentalists.
Masterfile's Steve Pigeon recently made the comment, "The stock photo industry has been democratized to the extent where anyone can now be a contributing photographer, and anyone can afford to be a client. This is a good thing." The real problem is that few, if any, traditional sellers are developing systems to effectively take advantage of this trend.
Digital Railroad, a provider of online archiving and marketing services for photographers, laid off over 20 people this week. The company said that it is "reducing costs not directly related to growth of Marketplace," which it launched last April.
The colossal effect of the micro-payment model on traditional stock licensing is often described in political language. Jupitermedia CEO Alan Meckler favors the phrase, "microstock revolution." The revolution is maturing -- and so are the demands of its adherents.
The Industry Measure Business Optimism Index for ad agencies dropped by 10 points in six months, from last summer's 108.
According to JP Morgan analyst Imran Khan, U.S. newspaper ad revenue declined 8.6% in 2007, and he believes the decline will accelerate in 2008. In 2006, the decline was only 1.7% compared to 2005.
In the summer of 2003, I put together a list of leading companies in the industry, and I have tried to update it periodically. Here is a comprehensive list of the world's major picture libraries and portals that produce and license rights to still images.
With revenue growth stagnant, if not slightly declining, several portals and picture libraries are looking for ways to cut costs and make their sites more attractive to buyers. The unintended consequence: customers say they can't find the right image, while photographers lose revenue.
JAM'D, a new consumer-targeted Web site from Getty Images, launched during the holidays without so much as a press release. Conceptualized by Getty CEO Jonathan Klein, JAM'D intends to fulfill the general public's desire to see the latest snaps of their favorite celebs.
Dan Heller, a California-based photographer, industry analyst and author of several professional photography books, is critical of Creative Commons licensing practices. In a huge, 10,000-word series of entries to his popular photo-business blog -- Heller takes on the Creative Commons licensing platform, concluding that it does not fit into the photo world.
Founded by a wife-and-husband team in 1964, Mary Evans Picture Library embodies a passion for antiquarian books and prints. The London-based agency has now been chosen to represent, manage and house an important source of 19th- and 20th-century imagery: The Illustrated London News Picture Library.
Even if you handle copyright correctly, getting compensated once there is an infringement can be difficult.
Microstock sites seem ideal for book publishers -- until one looks closer at the license agreements. Repeat usage prices soar.
The National Press Photographers Association has opened The Best of Photojournalism 2008 for entries. This year, the contest runs with a new set of rules, designed to sharpen competition, highlight new stories and reflect the changing face of photojournalism.
According to the latest statistics from U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, education and health are the two fastest-growing super-sectors of the American economy. Image use is likely to follow a similar pattern, with demand for white-collar, professional imagery rising and industrial images becoming less popular.
An increasing number of microstock images are considered of "better quality" than some RM imagery. Photographers seriously delude themselves when they believe that RM images are, by definition, of "better quality" than RF or microstock.