Change View Options:
Articles from November 2007
In partnership with PicScout, Corbis will soon be offering free images to social media, while monetizing the free content with advertising.
For many photographers, gross revenue might still be strong, despite a falloff in U.S. sales. The goal is to find work overseas, since the Euro is stronger than the dollar.
SnapVillage, the microstock Web site launched by Corbis in June, has reached 125,000 images in its inventory. According to senior vice president Adam Brotman, this exceeds expectations.
The book publishing industry has changed dramatically in the last decade or so and the stock photo industry has struggled to keep up with those changes. The biggest problem has been in establishing reasonable prices for increased circulation.
Continuing to focus on business segments least affected by the proliferation of low-cost imagery, Corbis has engaged 16 high-profile celebrity photographers to contribute new imagery to its Outline brand.
Recently, when Alamy reported estimated 2007 revenues of $28 million, I speculated they were the fourth-largest seller of stock images in the world after Getty, Corbis and Jupiterimages. New information about Japan's amanaimages places them in fourth place and moves Alamy to fifth.
Both Corbis and Alamy adjust their prices based on image size and circulation. This makes sense to book publishers because that is the way they have priced usage for decades. Yes, publishers want to be able to print an image in more copies than originally anticipated, and include electronic uses, which Alamy offers for an additional 50% and is included in Corbis' price. But is it necessary to give larger uses away?
U.K. editorial stock library TopFoto has struck a deal to represent a 130-year-old photo archive from German publisher ullstein bild.
The Bucharest, Romania-based microstock provider Dreamstime.com has recently announced reaching the 2 million image milestone. The company also said the number of buyers tripled last quarter.
Survey data of Publishing Forecast 2008, the latest research report by The Industry Measure, suggests that this segment's demand for stock imagery is on the decline. Though close to 40% plan to purchase royalty-free images and about 30% expect to buy rights-managed stock, planned spending has decreased by 3% to 13%, depending on license type.
Recently, Corbis announced it would be cutting 125 positions over the next several months, based on regional and local considerations. This is on top of the June announcement to eliminate 160 positions resulting from the closing down of its assignment business and the decision to sell its digital asset management division.
Everyone talks about the need for a simple pricing structure, but at present, it isn't happening. Somehow, we need to find a way to make all images available to all buyers at prices each can afford without giving images away to those who can justify paying more. It's time for major modifications.
JaincoTech has partnered with Advertising Photographers of America to provide discounted digital imaging services to APA members.
Evan Nisselson, founder of Digital Railroad and its CEO until this week, has quietly handed over the company's leadership to Charles Mauzy. The former company president, is also stepping up to the post of CEO. Nisselson will continue as chairman of the board, focusing on building alliances and representing Digital Railroad at events and conferences.
"In one respect, I always think it is unfortunate when a brilliant independent company is swallowed by a whale," says Steve Pigeon, president of Canada-based Masterfile. While Pigeon is a pragmatic man who thinks the recent Corbis acquisition of Veer was a good move for the two companies, the erosion of independent agencies is often lamented by industry insiders.
According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, online ad revenues in the U.S. exceeded $5.2 billion in Q3 2007. In the first nine months of the year, online advertisers spent $15.1 billion, a 26% increase over the $12.1 billion for the same period in 2006.
Getty Images issued a statement Nov. 16 claiming "early success" of its recently introduced, controversial Web-use image license.
Will Getty Images $49 Web Use product grow revenue for the company? Nick Evans-Lombe, executive vice president of imagery, products and services at Getty Images says, "We created a brand new product, at a compelling price point, for an entirely new market, and customers are responding. The Web-resolution product is in its early days, but demand is already very strong."
Bowing to pressure from a coalition of artist groups, led by the StockArtistsAlliance, and recognizing that it may have given away too much in their initial offering of the $49 "web-resolution" license, Getty Images has announced several changes in this program that started at the end of August.
As of Nov. 15, the PhotoShelter Collection is open for business. The new marketplace offers the professional, amateur and hobbyist photographer 70% of image sales. It's been open to photographers for two months and has already amassed 225,000 images from over 5,000 contributors.
The proliferation of microstock, combined with a general overcrowding of the stock-image space, has resulted in many pro shooters seeing declining stock revenues and considering diversification. The video market is one option, for a number of creative and economic reasons.
There is a lot of talk of recession, but so far the U.S. economy is not considered to be in one. However, recession, defined as two or three consecutive quarters of decline in economic activity, may already be here for the stock photo industry. The revenue numbers below are in millions for the industry's three publicly held companies:Getty Images, Jupiterimages and a21.
Today, Corbis announced the next step in its concerted pursuit of profitability. In a phased plan that will be implemented over the next six months, the company will restructure its international sales operations, resulting in the closing of eight office locations and cutting approximately 125 positions. According to the company, the restructuring has nothing to do with current business performance, but maintaining industry momentum.
a21, Inc. has reported $5,387,000 in revenues for Q3 2007, down 9% from the same period in 2006 and down 5.5% from the previous quarter. The SuperStock/Purestock portion of revenues were $2,765,000 down 7.4% from the previous quarter. In Q2, SuperStock revenues were down 4%, compared to Q1 2007.
Jeff Burke and Lorraine Triolo have been recognized by Mayor Michael Cacciotti for having installed the largest commercial solar electricity system in South Pasadena, Calif. It's on their building, where Jupitermedia now has its Los Angeles headquarters.
Italian Web company Starring has launched an English-language hosting service to showcase and promoted the work of European photographers, photographerspro.eu.
Munich specialty agency StockFood is sponsoring the FAB Futures Award 2008, a new category in the 10th International Food and Beverage Creative Excellence Awards.
The technology segment devoted to visual search is continuing its development on both ends of the spectrum. On one side are the businesses that want to monetize the public's thirst for imagery, fueled by the proliferation of social media, photo-sharing and Web 2.0-style communities. On the other, content owners and publishers, whose copyright-enforcement concerns are growing at a corresponding pace.
Masterfile has announced that it restructured its marketing operations and established a department for product development and innovation. Picture-agency president Steve Pigeon tells Selling Stock that this reorganization will make operations more efficient, as well as allow key executives to focus on â€œsome very cool product development initiatives.â€
Jupitermediaâ€™s Q3 2007 revenues were $34.766 million, up from $33.784 million in the same period last year and from $34.7 million in Q2 2007. Revenues for the Online Images division, which represents 77% of the companyâ€™s total business, were $26.824 million, up from $26.177 million in the same quarter last year, but down from $27.383 million in the previous quarter. The decrease was primarily due to lower revenues from third party distributors. Total revenues for the first 9 months of 2007 were up $1.5 million from the first 9 months in the previous year.
In July Mike Watson launched moodboard.com and introduced a new usage-based pricing strategy for the high end RF images offered by his agency. These images are available under the brand name moodboard+. moodboard has just announced that they have licensed an RF image for non-exclusive usage for a fee of over $1,000, a price they believe is a new record for a non-exclusive sale of an RF image.
Microstock sellers insist they are focused on developing an entirely new market -- the SOHO (small office, home office) buyer -- that has been, for the most part, ignored by traditional sellers who charge much more for image use than SOHO buyers can afford. There is no question that the vast majority of microstock customers fit this category.
In an effort to move beyond the often-repeated clichÃ© of photographers not being good businesspeople, this article series will endeavor to highlight business decisions that are often made by stock shooters and agencies to their detriment.High on this list is the over-reliance on the opinions of others when deciding on the next stock shoot or the future direction of an entire image collection.
The potentially cannibalizing effect of microstock on traditional licensing is an issue that comes up often, and the panel discussions at last month's PhotoPlus Expo and the annual conference of the Picture Archive Council of America were no exception.
Our recent coverage of Veer was unexpectedly timely, given today's announcement of Corbis acquiring the Canada-based stock-image retailer and type foundry for an undisclosed sum. Though this purchase is unlikely to be in the vicinity of the failed Getty/Jupitermedia deal valued at about $350 million, the alliance of Veer and Corbis may still have a rather significant effect on the industry.
The stock photo industry lost an irreplaceable leader when Jane Kinne passed away this past weekend. For more than 50 years Jane fought for the rights of photographers and stock agencies. No one has given more to our industry.
Imagestate Media has announced the receipt of Â£2 million (about $4.2) in investment capital from Beringea. The investment will enable Imagestate Media to further expand its already comprehensive digital content base and extend its offering of still images to motion and other rich media content.
Given the microstock discussion that took place during the recent Getty Images conference call with industry analysts, there may be a misinterpretation of iStockphotoâ€™s strength in the worldwide marketplace.
"Due to client needs, increased stock photography resources, and improved quality of those resources, our stock photography purchases have increased over the last few years," says Richard Davia, the principal of brand experience at Continuum....
While stock-industry insiders and analysts tend to focus most of their attention on the Big Three, it is noteworthy that buyers often look to a less publicized, smaller company: the Alberta, Canada-based Veer. In a recent survey of stock-photo buyers conducted by the Piper Jaffray investment bank, Veer outranked Getty Images, Jupiterimages, Corbis, Punchstock, Mastefile and Fotosearch, emerging as todayâ€™s preferred royalty-free brand among high-end image buyers.
In addition to entirely unauthorized image use, reuse of images beyond the scope of the original licensing agreement is a prominent issue in the business of stock licensing.
Despite the generally disappointing figures released by the industry leader last week, Getty Images' stock was trading above its 13-day moving average last Friday. Figures from Yahoo Finance showed GYI trading in the range of $28.68 to $31.47. The stock was approximately 7% up from the previous dayâ€™s closing figures.
During the recent Getty Images conference call, Citigroup analyst Matthew Troy asked CEO Jonathan Klein to talk about the company's dialogue with image suppliers relative to the $49 Web use for nearly all RM, RR and RF images.
The Getty Images Q3 2007 numbers show a downward tend in both RM and RF revenue.
Total RM revenue for the quarter was $71.86 million, down almost 10% from $79.79 million in Q2 -- and the lowest quarterly sales since Q3 2004. RM revenue for Q1 2007 was $81.64 million. The highwater mark for RM revenue was $86.18 million in Q1 2006. Thus for almost two years the company has seen a steady and increasingly rapid decline in RM revenue.
Noor, the newest photojournalism collective launched in September during France's Visa pour l'Image festival, also presented itself to U.S. audiences with a two-day gallery exhibit in New York. Created in the tradition of the field's most respected agencies, including Magnum, Sygma and VII Photo Agency, Noor's mission is to promote a deeper understanding of the world by producing independent visual reports on important social, political, environmental and cultural issues.
Quantity vs. quality is a never-ending debate topic in the stock photo industry. Based on discussions I had at the recent PACA International Conference in Las Vegas, I think we are about to see another of the periodic shifts in emphasis, with quality coming to the forefront.