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Articles from April 2008
Houston-based Inmagine has announced an upmarket addition to its microstock property, 123rf.com. EVO is a new image label that will market the work of top 123rf contributors at midstock prices.
Unless pricing and distribution outlets change, it will be very difficult for an individual photographer living in the United States to earn his entire living from producing stock photography.
House Resolution 5889 and Senate Bill 2913 are two different versions of the proposed orphan-works legislation currently before the U.S. Congress. Though substantially different from its original form and endorsed by some respected industry organizations, the proposals are meeting with opposition only days after becoming public.
Several Corbis photographers complain that they've had two and three new editors in the last year. Dan Perlet, director of communications at corbis, says this happened as "a result of natural attrition and staff reductions Corbis had last year." He also pointed out that, unfortunately, similar reductions have been "happening in many parts of the industry as companies seek ways to be more competitive."
Last week's Overseas Press Club of America awards placed Getty Images' achievements as a news organization on par with those of The New York Times. Former foreign correspondent, current United Nations representative for CARE International and OPC board member Kathleen Hunt singled out the two companies for their dedication to quality international journalism.
There is general agreement that the industry's No. 1 problem is oversupply, but what can be done about it? It appears the three majors are in the process of cutting supply by editing tighter and taking less from both individual photographers and small, specialized production companies. New production companies find it next to impossible to get accepted by the three major distributors that combined represent close to 70% of commercial sales industry wide. Without selling through at least one of them, it is next to impossible to generate enough sales from other distributors to support a production operation.
TheDataArchive, a London-based information-technology company, has relaunched the Web site of its wholly owned stock-licensing subsidiary, Construction Photography. In addition to a new look, the site utilizes the latest version of the company's digital asset-management technology.
Corbis has launched a set of new tools that target interactive-ad creatives. Among these is a pricing plan that allows high-end royalty-free images from dozens of producers to be licensed for $15 to $95. While price reductions for online image uses have been sweeping the industry over several months, this is the first public announcement of a cost as low as $15 from a major player.
Nature Picture Library (NPL) has acquired Bluegreen Pictures, a library specializing in sailing, boating, marine wildlife and landscapes photographs. Bluegreen was established by Karren May on the Isle of Wight and represents some of the top names in yachting photography.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company (HMH) is asking image providers to agree to an addendum to current and new agreements that limits HMH's liability in the event more copies of a book are sold, or more online uses are made, than were initially authorized. It is expected that other publishers will follow suit.
Tom Wear, director of photography and editorial services at Digital Railroad, has released a list of "most wanted" images, identified by repeated requests from Digital Railroad Marketplace buyers.
Saugatuck, Mich.-based image and business-management services company HindSight Ltd. Has launched FindAPhotographer, a talent search-engine to help buyers find commercial and stock shooters.
The American Society of Media Photographers will present second annual ASMP Arnold Newman Prize to Jonathan Torgovnik on May 13. Supported by Getty Images, Canon and Photo District News, the prize recognizes environmental portraiture.
ClipartConnection.com is the newest addition to Jupiterimages' microstock and subscription offerings.
Twenty years ago, when images were color slides and researchers went through drawers of images to fulfill a customer's request, there was great concern that duplicate images were stored at multiple agencies. Shopping around would net the best price. In fact, this almost never happened, even in cases where the same image was available in multiple agencies.
New York-based Everett Collection, an entertainment and celebrity image library that chronicles the history of film and television, has reached agreements to represent four European brands: Keystone, Mirrorpix, Mary Evans Picture Library and Matrix.
A newly digitized collection of 1970s and 1980s celebrity and music-legend photographs by Brad Elterman is now available through Buzz Foto, which says it covers the world of celebrity as an art form.
German stock-image producer Westend61 is removing over one-third of its collection from circulation. The 4-year-old company is also raising its print-resolution pricing by an average of 25%.
Traditional stock photography sellers constantly struggle to improve their collections and search. Diverse collections are added to the offering to increase customer choice. Then portals revert to tighter editing, limiting the number of images returned on each search. When portals use this strategy, the rejected images often turn up on other portals and customers often buy the rejected images.
Leading footage-licensing company Thought Equity Motion has launched a music and sound-effects collection. Offering exclusive and third-party audio content, the royalty-free music library brings Thought Equity even closer to the business models of the stock industry's Big Three.
Lucky Oliver, the favorite underdog of many microstock contributors, will cease operations on May 15. After the company spent a year seeking funds to take the business to the next level, company founder Bryan Zmijewski said: "The investment team decided that it was in the best interest of all stakeholders to shut the company down."
According to first-quarter data from the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB), U.S. consumer magazines are exhibiting classic signs of recession. Advertising revenues and pages are on a decline, given the market's economic woes. In contrast, ads of food products and other necessities is growing in both dollars and share of revenue.
Many traditional stock sellers are trying to determine how to enter the microstock market. Microstock companies have identified hundreds of thousands of customers. Traditional sellers have resisted this market, due to the low fees per use. But the number of sales is becoming hard to ignore.
One of the three major political parties of Malaysia may have to go to court to defend itself against charges of unauthorized image use. The issues raised by the case, which concerns a campaign in last month's general election, are commonplace in the global stock licensing industry. It echoes those of several other ongoing legal proceedings.
The Bridgeman Art Library has launched an online conceptual image gallery that targets the core stock-buying market of advertising, media and design creatives. The London-based fine art and archival specialist invites art directors, designers and photo editors to "select powerful, non-clichÃ©d images for commercial use... rather than having to use in-house artists or stock photography."
The major portals are editing many of the third-party collections, dropping images and limiting what they could add. They now refuse to accept some of the brands they had previously encouraged to produce. All this has meant more images for microstock.
The Industry Measure, formerly known as TrendWatch, shuttered on March 31. The research company's reports on the printing, creative, publishing, Internet and stock photography industries will still be for sale on its Web site.
U.K. government continues collecting and examining evidence from organizations and individuals that would be affected by the forthcoming changes to copyright law, as proposed by the Gowers Review. The London-based Association of Photographers, a 40-year-old membership body that represents pro shooters working in various fields, submitted its response on Wednesday.
Several photo brands are rumored to be quietly offering their collections to selected buyers, but so far there seems to be very little interest from the buyer side.
Houston-based Inmagine Corp. has launched IRIS, which stands for Inmagine RM & RF Image Submission. Borrowing from the community-based business models of micro-payment agencies, IRIS is an online submission interface in which Inmagine editors consider uploaded images. The resulting IRIS collection will be marketed to image buyers starting this quarter.
Getty photographers won in many key categories for the 2008 Best of Photojournalism contest held by the National Press Photographers Association.
In the last few years, the stock photo industry has experienced significant consolidation. The chart below lists 34 existing companies that have acquired a total of 197 agencies. In general, fewer large companies are controlling the industry as middle-sized and small companies disappear.
When people think about stock images, the first buyer market that comes to mind is typically not commercial print. However, perhaps it should be-depending on the category of images purchased.
Cutcaster, a community-based online content marketplace launched last week in New York, promises a new way to buy and sell stock images and video.
Big money is being spent for pictures of celebrities, but how much is going to the image creators?
Microstock cannibalization of traditional RF is occurring at a faster pace than I predicted in an earlier article "Royalty Free Trends At Getty." Getty has confirmed that iStockphoto earned $22 million in 2006 and $72 million in 2007.
iStockphoto, which is the third-largest generator of stock-image revenues in the world, has announced plans for a subscription offering. iStock says it is diversifying in response to customer demand.
Since the beginning of 2008, U.K. royalty-free producer Image Source has been phasing in a new pricing structure, along with several other changes in how it markets stock. According to company co-CEO Duncan Grossart, these changes support Image Source's core goal of remaining at the highest end of the stock-image market.
Dreamstime has entered into an exclusive partnership with the Korean agency ImageClick to make professional-quality images available to the Korean market at microstock prices. ImageClick will launch its exclusive brand (www.i22.com) that will make it possible for Korean visitors to search the content in their native language.
A new orphan works bill, which covers images without photo credits, is being drafted for consideration in the 2008 U.S. legislative session. Representatives of ASMP, digital content-monitoring company PicScout and others who stand to be affected by the new legislation testified at the first orphan-works hearing held by the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property in March.
CEPIC [Coordination of European Picture Agencies (Press, Stock, Heritage)] has launched its first comprehensive survey of the stock photo industry since 2000. Alan Smith, CEPIC president, says it, "will help picture businesses to know their market environment more profoundly and to learn how to respond to the current challenges."
Total U.S. newspaper revenue in 2007 was down $3.9 billion compared to 2006, the second-worst drop since the industry started tracking overall revenue in 1950.
When Barnardo's, an Essex children's charity established in 1867, decided to digitize its historical image archive, it turned to Kent-based editorial image distributor TopFoto. Every child that entered the charity was photographed, and Barnardo's archive now consists of some 500,000 images.