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Articles from May 2009
Last week, image-tracking company PicScout announced the appointment of industry analyst Dan Heller as vice president of marketing. The relationship did not last. On Thursday, PicScout chief executive officer Offir Gutelzon said "the fit just isn't right" in a short update posted in the press releases section of the company's Web site.
Keeping up with Jack Hollingsworth is a challenge. In the middle of April, he announced the three-day Photographer Makeover conference, originally scheduled for June 1. This event has since been cancelled due to lack of interest, but never discouraged, Hollingsworth has launched a new series of interactive online conversations called toginars at the much more reasonable price point of $19.99 each.
Stock-industry umbrella group Coordination of European Picture Agencies Press Stock Heritage has become a member of the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace, an group of organizations and businesses dedicated to promoting sustainable growth of the Internet consistent with the rule of law. CEPIC says the move furthers its campaign for protection of intellectual property online.
Global ImageWorks, a boutique New Jersey stock-footage company, has made its collection available through stock-footage search engine and database aggregator Footage.net.
The Long Tail describes a new way of looking at, and approaching, markets in the Web 2.0 environment. The term was first coined by Chris Anderson in a Wired magazine article in October 2004. It is illustrative of the business strategy of Internet companies like Amazon.com and Netflix which 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 addition to credits-based pricing, traditional sellers need to consider several technological adaptations. These include letting customers organize search results, helping photographers with research, providing a more varied offering and speeding up royalty payments.
Jerry Tavin of IC Worldwide and Deborah Free of Picturehouse Marketing have launched an international non-profit educational foundation. The Young Photographers Alliance will focus on bringing disadvantaged students opportunities for advancement in photography.
The third International Photo Metadata Conference will take place on June 4, during the annual gathering of Coordination of European Picture Agencies Press Stock Heritage in Dresden. This year, the scope of discussion extends to multimedia, particularly video metadata.
The second insight came as I was reading the business section of the
Washington Post and noticed that a photo used as part of the lead
illustration was credited to iStockphoto. This got me thinking. In the
past I’ve seen a lot of photos in the Post credited to Photodisc. Now
we may be seeing the beginning of a move from the more pricey Photodisc
images to those of iStockphoto.
The Stock Artists Alliance has unveiled PhotoMetadata.org, the Web site of the SAA Metadata Project financed by a grant from the U.S. Library of Congress. The Web site is supported by the getMETAsmart tour of events, which kick off this week in Dallas and will travel through the country.
Microstock sellers have introduced a number of strategies that traditional agencies and distributors should be considering, if not rushing to adopt. One of these is pricing based on credits, which transfers money to the seller before product delivery, makes it simpler to conduct small transactions, appears simple to the buyer and gives the seller more flexibility in adjusting prices.
Recently I was trying to explain the stock photo business to an investment
analyst and making the point that there comes a time when a
photographer can no longer afford to produce stock images because his
costs are greater than his income. The analyst was under the impression that a “stock
photo” was one that had been produced, and paid for, while the
photographer was on assignment for someone else. Thus the image was
“expense free” to the creator. And, in theory, the only “additional
costs” the photographer might have to make the image available for
secondary licensing would be the cost of packing it up for shipping it
to his stock agency.
As the stock industry changes, traditional stock agencies and distributors are losing ground because they have failed to adopt new technological efficiencies. Granted, constantly keeping up with the latest technological changes can be expensive, and most agencies have already invested huge amounts to get where they are today. But, microstock sellers have introduced a number of strategies that traditional agencies and distributors should be considering – if not rushing to adopt.
Many experienced professional photographers have been watching image prices fall but just cannot bring themselves to license their images for $1. Yet the truth is that at today's microstock prices, it does not take all that many sales to match what a photographer would earn from a single rights-managed sale, and there are a currently a lot more microstock sales than rights-managed ones.
Those who think microstock is under-priced will be chagrined at today's announcement of Fotolia's latest offering. Today, the New York-based microstock announced the launch of PhotoXpress, an online stock-image bank offering visitors a collection of 350,000 images free of charge.
Former Getty Images chief financial officer Lawrence Gould and vice president of e-commerce Tom Donnelly have launched their second venture: microstock business Vivozoom. The duo launched royalty-free stock business ImagePick in 2007. The differentiating factor is that Vivozoom is the only microstock Web site that warrants the use of its imagery---to the tune of committing to cover damages and costs of up to $25,000.
The Washington Post
reports that it is taking an average of 18 months for hard-copy copyright-registration applications to be cleared since the U.S. Copyright Office implemented its new electronic application system last July. It takes six months to process an electronic application, despite the fact that the system was supposed to be able to do it in one month.
The Sygma Preservation and Access Facility opened in France last Friday, after more than five years of work by its owner Corbis. Built by management company Locarchives, the facility houses 50 million negatives, printes, transparencies and contact prints.
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Corbis has launched Storied
, a Web site and collection of culturally and historically significant images presented by notable personalities.
Notable industry analyst Dan Heller has joined technology company PicScout as vice president of marketing.
Pessimism over the future advertising plans of advertisers and media-buying executives appears to have bottomed out, or is at least leveling off, according to the most recent in a series of every-other-month surveys being conducted among ad executives following the economic meltdown.
Many traditional sellers want to believe that all microstock is doing is stealing traditional customers. However, there is a lot of evidence that disproves that theory.
Recently, I wrote an article comparing the advantages and disadvantages of various marketing strategies. I suggested that in terms of the number of images licensed for commercial uses "rights-managed licenses account for 3% of the total number of annual licenses. Traditional royalty-free images make up 6%; 20% goes to subscription services and 71% to microstock.”
How long will it take before traditional prices drop to microstock levels? If Alamy's sales are any indication, microstock sellers might not be cannibalizing traditional sales in terms of number of units licensed, but they certainly are cannibalizing revenue as traditional sellers fight to compete.
NBC Sports has selected Denver-based Thought Equity Motion as exclusive content-licensing agent. The is the second deal for the two companies; Thought Equity has been the exclusive rep NBC News content for the past two years.
It is difficult to estimate the number of image licensed annually using this model due to the lack of solid statistical information, which is more easily available with other licensing models. Nevertheless, I estimate the units licensed by subscription at 20% of the worldwide total. It could be higher. If so, the corresponding percentage that microstock makes up would be lower.
ImageSpan has signed its first international reseller agreement with French company DP SARL, which will offer LicenseStream Creator among the array of services it provides to professional photographers and companies.
Alamy's sales for the first quarter of 2009 were down. Yet despite the drop in revenue, the company actually licensed rights to more images in the first quarter of 2009 than during the same period of the previous year.
In terms of number of images licensed, microstock has been taking the industry by storm in the last few years. About 71% of images currently sold annually are licensed using the microstock model.
Traditional royalty-free images currently account for perhaps 6% of the images licensed worldwide. In relative terms, the number of images licensed using this model is declining most rapidly.
There are four basic strategies to consider when trying to decide how to market stock images. These are rights-managed, royalty-free, microstock and subscription. Most sellers favor one strategy and are often adamantly opposed to the others. Some, however, argue that there is merit in using several of these strategies. Starting with rights-managed licensing, this series of articles will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each model.
American and French industry leaders have extended their collaboration for another three years, starting June 1. First formed in 2003, the partnership between Getty Images and Agence France-Presse focuses on providing media clients with a comprehensive editorial photography service.
Milan-based CuboImages has become the first independent agency to integrate the Cooliris technology into its Web site.
This week saw Getty Images' first public move to integrate the recently acquired Photos.com and Jupiterimages Unlimited into the proverbial bigger picture. The plan was to augment the inventories of the two Web sites with some iStockphoto content. Despite iStock's atypically great relationship with its community and seemingly reasonable contributor terms, contributors' vehement anti-subscription and anti-Getty Images feelings almost immediately derailed the plan, at least for the moment.
Young New York and Geneva-based stock-footage marketplace Pond5 has reached 150,000 broadcast quality, royalty-free HD and SD clips. It has also added a free weekly HD stock clip offer.
New York City-based photographer and president of the Stock Artists Alliance Shannon Fagan reviews last month’s conference of the Picture Archive Council of America, concluding that this year is unlike any other to date in the history of stock photography.
Stock libraries have been moving to adopt social-networking technologies and Web sites. Microstock agencies, for whom the online community is an integral part of the business model, have naturally been the early adopters, integrating social-networking features into their own Web sites and using Facebook and similar services. Traditional agencies appear to be following a similar path; however, this adoption appears to be guided more by fad and novelty than tangible evidence of potential business benefits.
Leading iStockphoto contributors saw their sales drop by almost 9% in April compared to March, according to our analysis of the numbers available through iStockcharts. To some extent, this might be explained by a loss of one business day to Easter.
This year, Getty Images photographers and editors have earned more than 60 awards and honors for editorial imagery and multimedia productions. These include the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal Award and Picture of the Year International's Magazine Photographer of the Year Award.
London-based Science Photo Library has announced that a new motion collection is coming this summer.
The Photolibrary Group has beat out a number of competitors to exclusively represent the image and video content of VisitBritain, the National Tourist Board of the U.K. The collection offers travel and lifestyle imagery of Britain.
In the face of declining pricing and revenue percentages, many photographers have found new ways to supplement their freelance income. Some may have staff photography jobs and freelance on the side. A growing number work in similar or allied fields, such as graphic design, or even hold a totally unrelated job of real-estate agent, teacher or flight attendant.
To help measure how representative the survey results might be, responders were asked to indicate their affiliation with trade organizations. Close to a third (29%) of the total 136 respondents did not belong to any such group, while 25 (18%) belonged to organizations other than the choices provided in the survey.