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Articles from March 2009
A start-up that makes photos shoppable has gotten the attention of Google, who joined its $5.75 million Series A financing round.
Agence France-Presse and Getty Images have extended their longtime still-image partnership with an agreement to distribute each other's video content. The worldwide deal, which allows both agencies to market content in English, is in place as of this month.
Beyond a higher level of personal involvement with Getty Images, iStockphoto chief operating officer Kelly Thompson does not think much will change at the Getty-owned microstock business after last week's resignation of its founder Bruce Livingstone. The newest member of the Getty Images executive committee shares the background of this decision and the company's plans for the near future.
For the third year, Corbis will sponsor the largest simultaneous advertising portfolio review in the world.
In 2006 I examined many of the factors that are impacting on stock photo market and leading to price declines. There were also a number of factors leading to declining sales volumes to traditional customers. These include the general demand for printed products, the tendency to use images multiple times but only pay once, trends in book publishing, postage costs, crowdsourcing of images and various types of guerrilla advertising. Since that time the situation has become worse.
As tax time draws near in the U.S., Outright.com
, the Web's only free bookkeeping, accounting and tax software service specifically designed for the solopreneur, offers photographers advice on the hardest-to-classify business deductions.
Recently, the owner of a top microstock portal claimed that the cost of creating an image should dictate its initial price. However, this is not what happens---at either his agency, other microstocks or among traditional agencies. It is time to let go of the fiction that image pricing has anything to do with production costs.
New York-based subscription agency Shutterstock has announced that its stock footage library has exceeded to 100,000 clips. The company has been growing its inventory at roughly 2,000 clips per week since its launch of a footage offering in 2006.
Getty Images continues to perform strongly at this year's photojournalism competitions. Getty photographers took all three top honors and an additional honorable mention in the sports photojournalism category of the Best of Photojournalism 2009 and several other top sports-photography prizes.
Getty Images have selected photojournalists Magnum's Alex Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin as recipients of the first two of five 2009 professional editorial photography grants. Students of Germany's Fachhoshchule Hannover (University of Applied Arts and Sciences) and the London College of Communications won two of four 2009 student grants.
Tyler Olson's recent microstock survey
attracted 244 respondents, including 189 male and 55 female photographers. Their total gross 2008 revenue for the 242 who answered that question was $2,438,556, or an average of $10,076.68 per photographer.
Alamy has reported
gross revenue of just under $31.2 million for all of 2008. This was broken down by currency, with $10,703,000 in U.S. dollars, 2,904,000 in euros and 8,974,000 in English pounds.
Though it has, apparently, been planned for some time, the resignation of the industry's chief disruptor has come as a surprise to many. As of April 1, iStockphoto founder and chief executive and Getty Images senior vice president of consumer markets Bruce Livingstone departs the stock-image industry.
A leading advertising assignment shooter says that he is seeing a growing niche in high-end sales.
As part of the ongoing discussion in the stock-image industry about the ethics and implications of selling the same content at different prices, James Alexander, formerly of Adobe Stock Photos, has posted some thoughts on his personal blog. This issue was first raised by Microstock Diaries,
and Selling Stock
has also addressed it in the past.
Content-licensing platform GumGum has launched a product that allows users to shop for products contained in images---specifically the outfits worn by favorite celebrities. ShopThisLook is already in use by blogs, such as INF Daily and Splash News' online gossip pub.
Getty Images' Orchard Represents and Annie Leibovitz have entered into a multi-assignment collaboration.
Traditional photographers argue that it is impossible to make money by licensing their images at microstock prices. They say volumes will never make up the difference. Despite that argument, Getty Images is licensing more and more images at Premium Access prices, which are not all that far away from what microstock sellers charge. Getty's volumes are not making up the difference for traditional photographers, but that is because Getty is selling these images to volume customers who used to pay traditional prices---not reaching the new customer base that microstock addresses.
A look at Alamy revenues gives a clear indication as to why the company felt it had to attempt to do something to recover some of their lost sales in the U.K.
Alamy has informed its contributors that this quarter it is seeing sales declines in sales to newspaper customers, ranging from 30% to 70% since last year. Major U.K. papers are going through a painful transition period exacerbated by the recession.
Previous articles in this series have addressed the long tail as it relates to stock photography, and why it is an increasingly important concept to understand for those who want to maximize earning. Constantly adding to your customer base, rather than earning more from existing customers, is at the core of the long-tail theory.
Since Getty Images announced that the first 4,280 Flickr images have been added to its collection, there has been quite a bit of speculation about how this will benefit the company.
As a result of the publicity surrounding Shepard Fairey's use of an Associated Press photograph, taken by Mannie Garcia, as reference for his very successful Obama Hope poster, a university inquired into standard stock-industry practices for the use of photographs as reference for fine or street art.
The Kelsey Group of BIA Advisory Services forecasts a reduction in local advertising spending in the U.S. through 2013. Kelsey also projects an increasing shift towards digital media.
"I am writing to you today with some unpleasant news," begins an internal email from Getty Images chief executive officer Jonathan Klein. "We have tried very hard to avoid lay offs during the continued turmoil in the world's economy. However, it is now clear that we have no alternative."
Canada's Torstar Syndication Services has launched GetStock.com, claiming that its 10-million-image inventory makes it the largest stock agency in Canada. The imagery comes from Alamy Images, Aurora Photos, TopFoto, IPNstock and Toronto Star Photos, among 21 agency-suppliers and an additional 40 individual photographers.
The long-tail theory is indeed about inventory and not pricing. Andersons theory is based on giving away things that are abundant in order to get customers' attention and draw them back to buy scarce, unique and relatively controlled items. That does not work in stock photography, where there is no way to determine what is abundant and what is scarce in advance. Still, the long tail exists in stock licensing, and it is entirely the domain of microstock companies, making the discussion inextricably tied to how images are priced.
The European Council-funded Metadata Image Library Exploitation Project will hold its final international conference on June 3, during the Dresden-based annual congress of the Coordination of European Picture Agencies. The MILE Project event, "Know Your Rights: How to Cope with Image Rights," will be free to CEPIC attendees and carry a 15 Euro cover charge for others.
"The long tail" is a phrase first coined by Chris Anderson in an October 2004 Wired
magazine article. The concept describes a new way to look at markets and is illustrative of the business strategy of Internet companies, including Amazon.com and Netflix, that sell a large number of unique items, each in relatively small quantities, to a very large base of customers. This buying pattern creates what is called a power-law distribution curve or long tail. In this series of articles, Selling Stock
will examine how the long-tail strategy applies to the stock-photo industry.
The Copyright Registry has announced that members in good standing of the American Society of Media Photographers are now eligible for free services. The Registry, which beta-launched in 2008 in anticipation of the passage of an orphan-works legislation in the U.S., offers a set of free services; however, registering as a creator carries annual fees, as do several other services.
Founded in 2006, Quantcast bills itself as "a new breed of audience [measurement] service, focused on helping buyers and sellers quantify the real-time characteristics of digital media consumers." The company's statistics on several leading stock-licensing companies provide a new dimension of information on image buyers.
A survey on current and future media, conducted by The Rosen Group, has revealed that the majority of American readers still read print publications and pay for subscriptions. Nearly half of the survey respondents think this will still be the case in 10 years.
Los Angeles-based Footagehead, a royalty-free division of FootageBank HD that recently launched to focus on the online and mobile markets, has made a commitment to donate a portion of its revenues to hunger relief.
San Francisco-based Cutcaster has augmented its micro-payment pay-as-you-go system with credits and corporate accounts.
The Flickr Collection, which was first announced
by Getty Images and Flickr parent Yahoo! in early July 2009, is now available for commercial licensing exclusively through gettyimages.com.
Microstock subscription leader Shutterstock has extended footage subscriptions from 30 days to full year without raising prices. The company has also announced a new low-resolution video product, confirming recent reports of recessionary pressure on stock footage.
A survey conducted by The British Photographic Council revealed a rise in client requests for copyright or very broad rights-transfers when commissioning or buying images, without a corresponding increase in fees. The pressure on photographers to accept these conditions has also increased, with photographers reporting significant losses of income to this practice. Though this survey was limited to the U.K., the wealth of anecdotal evidence, online discussions and media coverage suggests that the situation is much the same in most markets—and is increasingly prevalent in light of current economic conditions.
"Getty Sweeps POY
" of March 9 misstated the number of awards Getty Images' photographers won at two recent competitions. Getty photographers won not 19 but 17 Pictures of the Year awards and not one but two World Press Photo awards. The original story was revised on March 10.
The Tasini case has not reached a final resolution in 16 years of litigation and negotiations. In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court had decided that a group of publishers infringed on the copyrights of freelance writers by digitizing and redistributing their contributions. However, not all plaintiffs in the Tasini v. New York Times had registered copyrights in their works. For this reason, a New York Court of Appeals declined to approve a negotiated settlement between writers and publishers, moving the case back to the Supreme Court level.
Getty Images' photographers won 19 awards in the 66th Annual Pictures of the Year International Competition, far and away the most awards amassed by any news agency. More surprising, however, is that Corbis beat Getty and most others by placing among the three agencies scoring the most World Press Photo prizes.
has added over 170 original scores by "Family Guy" composer Ron Jones, who continues scoring the popular television show during its eighth's season.
U.K.-based moodboard has launched One
, a 30-page quarterly digital magazine designed to promote the agency's offering.
How was 2008 compared to 2007? What are industry trends in the production and sale of stock images? Selling Stock
has launched a survey
to gather information on 2008 stock-licensing income and cost of doing business. Selling Stock
encourages every photographer, graphic designer and illustrator who licensed rights to images in 2008 to respond to the survey's nine simple questions. The survey will remain open until April 15, and Selling Stock
will publish an in-depth analysis of the results shortly thereafter.
An announcement from British industry consultancy Pepper Stark suggests that Jupiterimages' European operations have not escaped layoffs.
On Tuesday, iStockphoto experienced a phishing attack in its forums and through sitemail. This attack attempted to scam users into handing over their iStock usernames and passwords.
Artists in a Year of Recession: Impact on Jobs in 2008,
a research study conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based National Endowment for the Arts, says that recession is affecting America's artists, and photographers in particular, more significantly than most other professionals. Artists are unemployed at twice the rate of all professional workers and are becoming increasingly discouraged with future job prospects.
In 2008 on behalf of Selling-Stock we surveyed photographers, illustrators and graphic designers designed to provide useful data for all those who license rights to their images. This story provides detailed results of this survey.
According to the latest Corbis Creative IQ report, solo travel is the latest trend—and not just for singles, who have historically held the "solo-cation" monopoly. Solo travelers now account for nearly a third (27%) of all vacationers.
The latest version of LicenseStream from California-based ImageSpan claims to deliver one-click buying of digital via a search-engine result. The company said LicenseStream 2.0 enables its users to publish content directly to global search engines.
According to co-founder and chief executive officer Serban Enache, Dreamstime's user-base has grown by over 30% during the last 5 months. Enache, who thinks such growth is probably the highest in the industry, said: "[Our small-company clients] must be affected by the crisis more than high-end users budget-wise... Still, we see no sign of slowdown (records for sales, new members, received content)."
recently analyzed some iStockcharts data in an effort to assess iStockphoto’s revenues during the first two months of 2009 and predict the possible effects of recession on microstock. Though the original analysis suggested a decline in iStock sales, new information about iStockcharts makes this a questionable conclusion.
As expected, Getty Images will be cutting staff after finalizing its acquisition of Jupiterimages last week. However, the severity of the cuts remains unclear.