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Articles from May 2008
Corbis is adding high-definition motion content from documentary filmmaker Maysles Films. The brothers behind the corporate name, Albert and David Maysles, pioneered American cinema veritÃ© in films such as Grey Gardens.
According to latest information from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, online ad spending has posted record results for the fourth consecutive year. PricewaterhouseCoopers calculates the total U.S. 2007 revenues at $21.2 billion, 26% year-over-year increase.
I believe the gross worldwide revenue generated from the licensing of stock imagery, both still photos and illustrations, is about $1.8 billion annually. This article focuses on licensing rights to stock imagery. The figures include wire service imagery made available through subscriptions and all other subscription products.
Denver-based Thought Equity Motion has become the exclusive global-licensing agent for HD stock footage from select films in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios library.
As the orphan works bill wends it way through the U.S. Congress, it is easy to appreciate what a nightmare it is for book publishers to try to clear rights to certain older images. Last week, Stock Connection became involved in a situation that illustrates the point.
OnAsia has released a significant upgrade to its Windows-based Image Keyworder software that includes a customized Alamy Mode for users submitting images to the UK-based photo agency.
The proliferation of the royalty-free model, strengthened by the advent of microstock, has turned stock licensing into a volume business. Though most severe in creative stock, pricing is on a clear downward trend across most image categories. While there will always be a professional buyer segment that seeks premium imagery and related services, many art directors and designers have shifted from traditional to micro-payment imagery for certain projects.
Microstock sellers insist that simple pricing is a key to their success, but many of the current strategies bely that notion.
This summer, images from the collection of London-based Science Photo Library will be on view in two exhibits in England.
Corbis is seeking to further penetrate the growing editorial market segment in Spain. A new partnership with Spain's editorial-image leader, Cordon Press, takes effect in July.
Asia Images Group, CuboImages and Latinstock will be among the image producers unveiling new collections at the June CEPIC Congress. In addition, industry supplier Akamedia will demo its video-distribution system, which allows an image agency to create its own video offering.
Linda Royles, CEO of the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies, is stepping down after a decade-long tenure. Also moving on is membership manager Christina Berry. BAPLA views the departures as an opportunity to review the organization's strategic direction.
Getty Images, Inc. has called a special meeting of its stockholders, to be held at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time Friday, June 20, 2008, at its Seattle headquarters to consider and vote on the proposal to adopt the previously disclosed Agreement and Plan of Merger.
Tired of having to watch 18 minutes of commercials in every hour- long TV series? Next season, Fox will be cutting the commercials down to 10 minutes and giving viewers more entertainment.
In a recent speech to business leaders in Atlanta, Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett Packard CEO, said today's leaders need to look beyond quarterly financial reports and other backward-looking indicators and focus on the pace of innovation in their industries and the diversity of their customer base.
London-based Mary Evans Picture Library has launched The History Album. The Web site, which aims to become an online repository of user-uploaded historic photographs, borrows from the community-based photo-sharing business model, with some commercially oriented enhancements.
This summer, the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies will be hosting a series of training courses that focus on image-licensing workflow. To present the courses, BAPLA has partnered with London neighbor Electric Lane, a digital-imaging and picture-archiving consultancy established by former BAPLA CEO Sarah Saunders.
RM and traditional RF sellers are only addressing 10% to 15% of the total market for stock images. Some readers asked how I arrived at that number. First, this is the percent of images licensed, not revenue. That 10% to 15% of images used represents about 90% of current revenue. The other 85% of images used is responsible for only 8% to 10% of revenue. However, there are strong indications the revenue relationships are about to change dramatically - and not in favor of RM and traditional RF sellers.
This week, stock image site BrightQube launches a credits-based payment system, similar to that used by microstock companies. It also won the 2008 FITC People's Choice Award. According to Sharon Tczap, BrightQube vice president of marketing, the company's increasing momentum in the stock-licensing industry is the result of its user-centric philosophy.
Internet advertising revenues reached an all-time high of $21.7 billion in 2007, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers. This was 26% higher than 2006 and surpassed radio advertising and cable television advertising in total U.S. ad spending.
On a company basis, the best year-to-year percentage of growth overall came from Alamy with 18%, even though Getty Images had a respectable 10% growth overall on a much higher gross revenue. And, of course, one division of Getty, iStockphoto, had an amazing 124% growth. But we need to look closer at the actual numbers.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a revised version of its orphan-works bill last Friday. The American Society of Media Photographers, which feels that "just about every single change benefits users to the detriment of photographers and artists," is urging its members to oppose the revisions.
Fotolia's new Reseller API targets traditional image agencies eager to get a piece of the microstock pie.
Alamy had gross sales in Q1 2008 of $8,097,000, up 18% from Q1 2007. 56% of the revenue for the quarter came from images submitted by photographers and 44% from agencies.
a21, Inc. has reported Q1 results of $5,107,000, down 17% from it's the same period last year. The SuperStock division had revenues of $2,615,000, down 11% from Q4 2007 and 17% from a year earlier.
Scott Gordon is taking the lead in building the brand of Jersey City-based stock-production company Tetra Images, founded two years ago by Comstock co-founder and veteran stock photographer Tom Grill.
New York-based subscription microstock Shutterstock has announced details of its 2008 contributor raise. Though the company has hyped the commission increase for several months, many contributors are disappointed with the numbers.
San Diego-based Tech Coast Angels, an angel network that funds South California start-ups, announced that it completed funding of a $650,000 convertible note for online stock-image distributor BrightQube.
The Getty-owned microstock announced it will launch a royalty-free audio service in September. In addition to holding the record for the total number of stock-licensing transactions, this addition makes iStock the first company to offer still photography, illustration, Flash files, video and audio in one place, under one payment model.
Jupitermedia's Q1 2008 revenues were $34.5 million down from $36.1 million in Q4 2007 and below the company's estimate of $35 to $36 million announced in March of this year. First-quarter revenue was down slightly from $34.8 million in the same period in 2007. Total revenue for the online images segment of their business continued a steady slide to $26.142 million, down 9% and $1.8 million from Q1 2007 revenue of $27.914 million.
Miami-based royalty-free producer Glow Images is expanding into the rights-managed arena with an initial offering of 1,500 images in June. The company plans to add 500 new rights-managed images per month.
Zurich-based Sodatech, a technology company that services the media industry, has launched a beta version of SodaSearch, a color and similarity image-search engine. Sister-company Sodapix is testing the functionality on its stock-photo Web site.
Royalties are changing as the business changes. It's helpful to learn to adapt to new realities in the RM/RF marketplace.
Along with considerable social and economic influence, bloggers have had a significant effect on image licensing. As the social-media segment continues unabated growth, stock-industry insiders can expect bloggers to play an even larger role.
RM and traditional RF photographers complain about declining incomes and the difficulty in getting information from the companies that represent their work. Traditional distributors might do well to adopt a number of ideas popularized by microstock, to improve relationships between photographers and distributors.
Berlin-based royalty-free producer fStop has released several new image galleries. It has also negotiated new distribution agreements, with global partners, including BrightQube, imageselect, Masterfile and photolibrary.
The National Press Photographers Association has joined a growing group that oppose the proposed orphan-works bill.
PhotoShelter's first student-to-pro photography competition, Elevation 2008, has announced five winners. PhotoShelter editors will also be conducting on-on-one portfolio reviews and providing the winners with three free months of the company's Personal Archive.
For photographers, there are three ways to showcase photos: building your own site, traditional agencies and microstock. All carry pros and cons. The more informed your are, the better it will be.
Toronto-based IdÃ©e has launched a beta version of the first image search-engine that does not rely on keywords or metadata. Instead, TinEye compares user-submitted images with those posted online by using image identification technology.
Photographers regularly ask why the royalty paid on RF sales is only 20% of the net received by their agent, when the agent pays 40% to 65% on RM sales that are made in the same manner. Royalty percentages have little to do with reality, and nothing to do with the cost of production.
According to Nancy Wolff, the legal counsel of the Picture Archive Council of America and the PLUS Coalition, the congressional version of the Orphan Works Bill of 2008 is an improvement. By contrast, Atlanta attorney Carolyn Wright thinks both the House and Senate versions of the bill pose an extreme threat to copyright owners.
By 2012, digital advertising is expected to eclipse traditional advertising, according to 52% of respondents to Accenture's 2008 Global Media Survey of more than 100 senior business executives in North America and Europe.
iStockphoto's Q1 2008 revenue increase was impressive compared to Q4 2007, but many image producers are worried about the declining number of downloads. Till the end of last year, virtually all iStock suppliers with reasonably sized collections could count on downloads and revenue rising steadily month to month.
Bo Olofsson, Getty Images senior vice president of sales, intends to resign upon the completion of the planned merger with Hellman & Friedman. Nicholas Evans-Lombe, previously executive vice president of imagery, products and services, has been promoted to executive vice president and COO, which is a new position for Getty Images.
Corbis has announced the winners of its second Creativity for Social Justice Award & Scholarship. As part of the Annual ADC Awards, this prize honors work created by professionals and students for nonprofits on a pro-bono basis.
The Stock Artists Alliance, an advocacy group dedicated to protecting the interests of professional stock photographers, is urging Congress to amend the proposed Orphan Works Act of 2008. Though SAA recognizes the improvements made since the 2006 version of the legislation, it feels the new bill must do a better job of balancing the needs of users with those of copyright holders.
Aflo Co., Ltd., one of Japan's leading stock-image providers, is absorbing the operations of its younger Tokyo neighbor am-images, now dissolved as a separate business entity. The two companies report an amicable merger without disclosing financial details.
Getty Images has reported revenue of $233.2 million for Q1 2008, up from $218.1 in Q4 2007 and up significantly from the $220 Q1 estimate supplied at the end of January. Revenue increased 9.7% compared to $212.7 million in Q1 2007 and came mainly from increasing licenses of editorial and micropayment imagery.
On May 7 and 8, London's Business Design Centre will host the annual Picture Buyers' Fair, organized by the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies. Among new products and collections on view will be the first digitized Barnardo's imagery from TopFoto.
According to the latest Corbis trend report, Americans are increasingly choosing recreational-vehicle getaways over the typical flight-and-hotel vacation. That reality, says Corbis, will soon be reflected in ad imagery.
SAA's Corbis Ombudsman Tim McGuire outlines important difficulties in enforcing copyright in the U.S. SAA's volunteer ombudsmen liaison with most major agencies to assist with communications and problem-solving.