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Articles from December 2009
Though final advertising spending numbers for 2009 will not come in for another few weeks, the first three quarters of the year were nothing short of abysmal, at least according to latest figures from TNS Media Intelligence. The ad-measurement company reported a U.S. decline of 14.7% compared to the first nine months of 2008. Still, there are some bright spots, including Internet display, print inserts, and telecom and pharmaceutical advertising.
For much of the past decade, textbook publishers have licensed rights to print a minimum number of copies of the books they published and proceeded to greatly exceed the authorized press run, without informing the content creators. Only recently have photographers become aware of this problem, which we covered last month. Here is a summary of the settled and pending actions.
While stats for most economic indicators remain pitifully low in long-term comparisons, numerous sources are reporting short-term gains. Importantly, advertising and freelance job markets have perked up in recent months.
Despite the general state of the economy, falling advertising budgets and continued debate over the marketing usefulness of social media, budgets allocated to social media in 2010 are bucking the downward trend. For the stock industry, the channel holds dual interest: it is becoming an important collective user of imagery and video, and an equally important marketing resource.
Getty photographer Carlos Sanchez Pereyra recently asked on Linkedin what others thought was the "best way to sell stock." There is no question that Getty Images makes more gross sales than any other brand, but it may not be the best place for most photographers.
California startup that helps local businesses advertise online is making use of microstock to offer small companies a bundled mobile ad service.
Late-January course devotes first day to asset management, moves into rights clearance.
Government officials, law enforcement and business leaders attending the Fifth Global Congress on Counterfeiting and Piracy earlier this month cautioned that the world needs to step up actions against counterfeiting and piracy to help boost global economic recovery. However, the lack of appropriate legislative structures and the general public's attitude make reversing the skyrocketing digital piracy trend highly doubtful, and not only in the very short term.
Close to half (43%) of respondents to a survey conducted by San Francisco photographer Jim Goldstein said Web sites and blogs offer the most revenue-generating opportunities in the social media landscape. Goldstein, who also just gave a presentation on social media at PhotoPlus Expo, designed the survey to help understand how and why photographers use social media. While responding photographers see social media as offering revenue opportunities, it has yet to offer much actual revenue.
Nielsen Business Media, the owner of a number of creative and advertising industry magazine titles, is selling and shuttering many by the end of this year. Adweek is going to a new owner; Editor & Publisher is no more; but Photo District News, its flagship trade show and stock-image business remain.
One of the oldest photographic agencies, Germany-based Mauritius Images, has launched a budget-priced offering. Bestprice-Stock offers more than 600,000 images priced at 20 euro to 80 euro and ranging between 1 megabyte and 50 megabytes in size, respectively.
Geneva-based AbsolutVision is discounting pricing by 20% through Jan. 11. AbsolutVision specializes in JPEG2000 stock offered on a subscription basis at an annual cost of just under $50.
A Paris court ruled Google's book-digitization project violates France's copyright laws.
Largely not, at least according to industry analyst Dan Heller. All financial assumptions about the stock photo industry may well be entirely wrong.
It is not just the general public's right-click-and-save mentality image producers and agencies need to worry about. While stock-photo professionals assume that those employed in creative jobs are at least conversant with copyright, a new Deutsche Telekom survey revealed that nearly half (44%) of marketing, public relations and publishing professionals think that a royalty-free image is an image that can be used without payment. Worse yet, 37% of respondents admitted having used images illegally by swiping them off the Internet.
Should a photographer license his work as royalty-free (RF) for a 20%
royalty or rights-managed (RM) for a 40% to 50% royalty? The answer
seems simple, but maybe not. In a previous article I pointed out that there is absolutely no justification for a
distributor paying only a royalty of only 20% when an images is
licensed as RF and 40% when it is licensed as RM. It doesn't cost the
distributor any more to license an image as RF than as RM. In fact, if
anything, because negotiating time is involved in making some RM sales
it may actually cost the distributor more to license rights to an RM
image than to an RF one. Thus, if we were basing the royalty share
solely on the relative contributions of the distributor and the creator
to the sale, the RF royalty should be higher, not lower, than the
royalty for RM.
In January2010, pacaSearch will roll out a major marketing campaign
to picture buyers to promote its new pacaSearch software. At a recent demonstration at PictureHouse in New
York, Lee Horton, Multimedia Editor of K12 Inc. said, “Learning about
the functionality and usefulness of [pacaSearch] put a big smile on my
face. As a photo editor and art buyer, I search multiple sites daily.
This tool puts more control in my hands. I can keep the results pages
in tabs with fewer keystrokes, page toggles and site crashes. The
relative percentages, predictive text and term definitions create a
tight, clean search environment. With the launch of pacaSearch, I can
successfully and accurately find imagery in less time, with less
hassle, while having more agency resources at my fingertips. Thank you,
PhotoShelter has updated its Web site code base to offer "better reliability and easier extensibility," says chief executive officer Allen Murabayashi. The company has also introduced several frequently requested features--including the latest version of popular pricing software FotoQuote--into its online photo-archive product favored by independent photographers and stock agencies.
According to Paul Melcher, Getty Images is now offering publishers "new low prices in exchange for being the sole provider." Assuming that is true, it could easily backfire on Getty, and may point to a need for photographers to revise their marketing strategies.
Getty Images has completed the full acquisition of HAAP Media, the Hungarian company that retained partial ownership of Stock.xchng and StockXpert after Getty's acquisition of Jupiterimages.
In looking ahead to 2010, photographers should focus on how they will adapt to the new realities of the photography business.
Getty Images-owned iStockphoto has announced the changes it plans to make in the coming year. The company's long-term shift toward exclusive content continues with new products and pricing adjustments, which include major increases. iStock is also changing credit pricing and contributor canister levels, which drive the commission structure.
California-based multi-ethnic image boutique PhotoEdit conducted a survey that suggests that the most typical buyer of rights-managed imagery is an early-forties female employed as a photo researcher or photo editor. Survey questions, which were sent to 1,230 buyers, were geared toward those working at large publishing houses and magazines.
One of the leading thinkers in today's stock photo industry is Rick Becker-Leckrone, the chief executive officer, principle founder and chief architect of Blend Images, one of the world's more successful stock production companies. In April 2009, photographer John Lund conducted an in-depth interview with Becker-Leckrone.
The following are some principles that apply all types of stock photo sales. The base numbers on the pricing schedules on this site are average rates for one-time, non-exclusive use of a single image by the smallest of companies, and assuming that the image has no unique factors that would make it more valuable. These numbers are equal to U.S. dollars and are reasonable rates for commercial use of the average professionally produced stock image. Other currencies should adjust accordingly. Photographer should be aware of the existence of similar microstock images that might fulfill the customer's requirements if exclusivity is not an issue for the customer. In such cases the photographer may find it necessary to negotiate a lower fee.
Latinstock Digital, the asset-management subsidiary of the Latinstock photographic cooperative, has entered into a joint venture agreement with KIT Digital, a provider of on-demand video-management software. The two companies have agreed to cross-market services, thus expanding the range of the total offering, to each other's and potential new clients. For Latinstock, the agreement means a stronger foothold in the video and European markets and an expansion of its service roster.
ZenithOptimedia (Publicis) says that global ad spend for 2009 will be 10.2% lower than 2008, but that in 2010 it is expected to be up 0.9% compared to 2009. Group M (WPP) thinks 2009 spending will only be down about 6.6% from 2008 levels and expects 2010 to be 0.8% above 2009. There is no expectation that ad spending will get back to 2008 levels anytime soon.
Getty Images, which has held the official title of photographic agency to the International Olympic Committee for 22 years, is gearing up to cover the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games in February. The agency was first designated as the official provider of such services during Canada's first Winter Olympics of 1988 in Calgary, Alberta-the home of Getty-owned iStockphoto.
Corbis is the new exclusive rep of a collection of Egyptian imagery by Sandro Vannini, who just launched a limited-edition large-scale photography book A Secret Voyage featuring this collection. Vannini has spent the past 12 years capturing Egyptian archaeological heritage in collaboration with Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Marrying the features made familiar by companies such as OnRequest, fotoLibra and various community-based photo businesses, Austin-based FocalPop launched a marketplace where buyers can post requests for photographers to reply with photos. Buyers describe images, the price they are willing to pay and the type of license they seek-then select a winning image among submissions from site users.
Cambridge-based Imense, which produces image-recognition and other software, has updated its Annotator keywording platform.
National Geographic has announced that it is ceasing regular publication of "National Geographic Adventure" with the current December/January issue after 10 years of publishing the travel and outdoor adventure magazine.
Joichi Ito, the chief executive officer of Creative Commons, has joined the advisory board of PicScout. The company's ImageExchange platform has also welcomed Dreamstime to the list of participating agencies.
Most professional photographers are adamantly opposed to Creative Commons licenses, which are used to allow free uses of images. However, widespread use of Creative Commons licenses may actually help establish in the minds of users the very important copyright law principle that "All Rights [are] Reserved" by the creator or copyright holder of any work, and that it is left to the creator to specify who has what rights to make what uses of the work and at what cost.
From marrying assignment and stock to choosing among rights-managed, royalty-free and non-traditional image licensing strategies, Bill Bachmann's experience offers food for thought.
PicScout has announced that 13 more image producers and companies have joined its recently launched Image Index Registry Connection.
Photographer Zee Wendell and art director Tara D'Ambrosia have launched Weestock Images, a children's stock photography agency, out of Newport Beach, Calif. According to the duo, Weestock fills a market gap.
The New York-based microstock is financing the construction of 12 wells in northern Ethiopian villages.
Bill Bachmann, author and publisher of Remember The Joy -- How To Have a Successful Career in Photography and Have Fun Doing It
, says: "The best part of my life is that I shoot what I love. Everyone should do that!"
Those that have traditionally made their living licensing stills to print educational and textbook publishers should take heed: there is ample evidence that predictions of such uses giving way to digital, often video-based options are true. ITN Source and its Education Clip Library just announced a deal with Archipelago Learning to provide video content for Archipelago's Study Island-an online standards-based assessment, instruction, practice, and test preparation program for the U.S. K-12 educational market.
Previous methods of image keywording almost always involved downloading an image from a server, adding metadata and reuploading it back. In cases of outsourcing images to keywording companies, this involved huge volumes of data traveling back and forth. Piksee, a new software package from New Zealand metadata company Keedup, eliminates the loss of time associated with data transfer by sampling images off a server and adding keywords and other information without moving images themselves.
Travel photographer Bill Bachmann is an ardent advocate for basing stock image pricing on usage (the rights-managed model), not on file size (the royalty-free and microstock models). In 2009, Bachmann is on track to earn almost $1 million from licensing his travel and lifestyle images.
usage fees are so low that many photographers and small agencies that
have specialized in selling to textbooks have either gone out of
business, or are on the verge of doing so. Nevertheless, the
excessively low prices were still not enough for the publishers. To
press their advantage it now appears that many of the larger publishers
have systematically, not occasionally or accidentally, printed many
more copies of books than they licensed rights to print.