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Articles from September 2007
In a move that blurs the boundaries between professional and hobbyist photographers, Jupiterimages has invited the contributors of its micro-payment community Stockxpert to submit work for sale under the company's Dynamic Graphics brand.
Here are uses included in each category of the Modified Rights Ready (MRR) business model. Any use not specifically included in the first 15 definitions falls into the "Other" category and must be negotiated. In addition, uses in several different categories are not permitted unless each category is purchased, or they are all commercial uses and that category is purchased.
Here is a suggested strategy for MRR pricing. All the prices are for nonexclusive use of an image in a single project or campaign. Multiple uses of a picture for several different campaigns, or by different customers must be negotiated. Exclusive uses must be negotiated. Price is unrelated to the size used, the length of time used and the user's industry. The only factor affecting price is circulation, with the exception of cover uses that must be negotiated.
My proposed new pricing strategy can best be described as a Modified Rights Ready (MRR) model. It uses some of the basics of RR as designed by Getty Images, but overcomes many of the problems with Getty's model. In an effort to achieve maximum simplicity, Getty lumped different types of uses into a single category and ignored important categories at the low end. I have broadened the number of categories to 16.
Getty Images, Corbis and a number of other agencies rely on PicScout to monitor online use of their images. In an environment where infringement is rampant, PicScout helps copyright owners identify unauthorized image use and recoup lost revenues. While such objectives are critical to maintaining a successful stock-licensing business, PicScout's monitoring practices are becoming increasingly questioned by Webmasters.
The National Legal and Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based legal watchdog group, has presented members of Congress with a report detailing Google's role in the film industry's copyright violations. NLPC contends that Google Video and the video-sharing Web site YouTube are hurting copyright by hosting infringing material.
In addition to moving closer to profitability, the recent consolidation and restructuring of a21 operations was intended to free up cash resources needed to launch new products and support existing ones. Today, a21 announced plans for an online royalty-free stock-licensing business MediaMagnet.
Is it all about the customer? Customers will always want more for less, but at some point, there has to be enough revenue for the producer to justify continued production.
Online U.K. music-licensing company Ricall and BBC Motion Gallery have reached an agreement to cross-promote each other's product lines. Ricall's inventory contains 4 million tracks, including all of the U.K.'s top 40 and the U.S.' top 100, as well as independent music. BBC's archive, which contains more than 500,000 hours of footage.
ZUMA Press, a California-based photojournalism agency, is now representing the daily photographic production and archive of The Los Angeles Daily News.
Buyers want a simple, easy-to-use pricing system that allows them to use any image they can find at a price they can afford. None of the existing pricing systems adequately addresses this issue.
InformationWeek has ranked Getty Images seventh in its list of 500 most innovative corporate users of information technology. Getty Images is the highest-scoring company in the media and entertainment category.
Because value received should be the basis for pricing image use, just as it is for pricing uses in these other areas of commerce. When a customer asks why you charge them more than you're charging "X" to use a particular image, the answer is that in your judgment, the customer is receiving more economic benefit.
The explosion of growth in content means the average return per image (RPI) will fall. However, it is no less expensive to produce images than it used to be. In the last four years, Getty's gross revenue from still-image licensing has grown about 50%, but not nearly as fast as the number of images added to the collection. As a result, image suppliers must produce more images each year just to stay even.
According to Jupitermedia CEO Alan Meckler, there is a strong possibility that Jupiterimages will enter the celebrity imagery space. Though Meckler is still unsure of any specifics, he promises the new offering will be original if it launches. In addition, there has been speculation about the possibility of a similar move by the Associated Press.
At yesterday's Goldman Sachs 2007 Communacopia Conference, Jonathan Klein told investment analysts that about 75% of Getty Images' business is down. "Our core stock-photography business has stopped growing. In fact, it is declining," he said. Analysts were not surprised, noting that Getty stock hit a 52-week low last Tuesday.
Masterfile Corp.'s lawsuit against J.V. Trading concluded with the District Court of New York awarding the stock agency five times its usual licensing fee for online use of rights-managed imagery. The court granted the full extent of damages requested, including statutory damages and attorney's fees, for a total of $46,816.91.
Basing price on the size of a digital file is extremely unfair to the customer, as well as the seller. File size has almost no relationship to how an image will eventually be used, or the value the customer will receive from its usage.
If an amateur produces a great photo that meets the needs of a commercial customer, there is no reason why the commercial customer should expect to pay the amateur less than a pro. The price should be based on the value of the image to the customer, regardless of who produced it.
Alamy CEO James West has announced the agency's plans to launch a number of new products designed to broaden the agency's customer base and expand its pricing strategy. In a more surprising move, the privately held Alamy will also make its financial information public.
Corbis has launched a microsite to provide images and footage to ad agencies, campaigns and news outlets during the 2008 U.S. elections. The company pegs related ad spending as exceeding $3 billion, or nearly double that of the last presidential race. The two areas of significant spending increases are anticipated on the Web and in newspapers.
With the launch of the PhotoShelter Collection, the company that previously specialized in providing online archiving and e-commerce solutions has gone into the business of stock licensing.
The soon-to-launch royalty-free portal BrightQube.com is starting to make viral circles around the blogosphere. Though promises of revolutionizing image search no longer impress industry insiders, BrightQube's search interface is a new, techno-savvy and time-efficient twist on the industry-standard engine.
There has been an explosion of customers who want to use imagery, but the majority of these new clients have small budgets for photography. Meanwhile, sales to traditional stock photo customers have been sluggish for some time, and there are signs their needs will decline.
Getty Images has decided to reduce the duration of rights-ready and rights-managed images available under its new Web-use license to three months from the previously announced one year.
Attributor Corp., a California-based company that bills itself as the world's first Web-wide content monitoring and analysis platform, has signed Reuters as a client.
The current disparity of prices is the greatest in the history of stock licensing. Some images are available for $1 for perpetual use; others command thousands while imposing time, distribution and medium restrictions. Somewhere between the extremes is the new buzzword midstock, a concept that attempts to bring some order to the chaos of image pricing.
As more amateur photographers submit images to microstock, the line between amateur and professional blurs. In some areas, amateurs are giving pros a run for their money.
To outline a new model means it is necessary to come to some general agreement on several of the industry's fundamental issues. In a nine-part series, Jim Pickerell will discuss several key ones. Each installment will explore the impact on the future of the stock photo business. Part I: The New Business Model
TNS Media Intelligence reports that the second quarter of 2007 is the first time since 2001 that ad spending declined for two consecutive quarters. Though the overall decline is only 0.3% ($190 million) compared to the first half of 2006, some industries are seeing more significant declines. The biggest hit is the B2B mag category.
The Visa pour l'Image festival saw the launch of Noor, a new agency established by nine documentary photographers of global acclaim. The launch received much attention at the Perpignan-based photo festival. In addition to its exhibits and awards, Noor also promised to be a trendsetter.
a21, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based owner of SuperStock, Purestock and ArtSelect, is consolidating and restructuring to improve profitability and prepare for upcoming growth initiatives.
The Brentwood, Tenn.-based microstock Web site Dreamstime.com has launched a workshop program. The first one-on-one workshop and stock shoot will be hosted by well-known stock photographer Ron Chapple in Maui, Hawaii.
Not only are photographers and agents upset about Getty Images recent move to lower the price for Web use of virtually all of its images to $49, but many in the investment community look at it as a bad idea as well.
"Open Your Eyes" is Image Source's new global marketing campaign that unites a microsite, direct mail, advertising, sales promotion and 200 image distributors. Focusing on alternative ways of seeing Image Source's collection of lifestyle, beauty and business imagery, the campaign offers a 30% discount off the price of two or more image collections.
Few corporate moves have met with as much criticism and outright opposition as Getty Images' recent announcement of price changes for online image licensing. Now, six industry groups - which represent over 12,000 professional photographers in the U.S.A. and the U.K., including many Getty Images' contributors - have written an open letter demanding change.
When photographers sell exclusive images for greeting card use, they get less and the buyer gets more.
Corbis has launched Creative Boutique, a new online service for advertising, marketing and media pros. The resource will showcase new imagery and provide an assortment of free content, including search tips, wallpapers and articles.
The drive by photographers and distributors to license RM stock images for exclusive use could be the undoing of many photographers.
As promised, Getty is heavily promoting its new $49 price for Web use of any RM, RR or RF image in its collection. But some suppliers are rebelling.
The New York Times has announced the expansion of its deal with Redux Pictures, which licenses the newspaper's images. Redux has been the official U.S. photo-licensing agent since the summer of 2006 and will now also handle sales in Asia and Europe.
The Stock Artists Alliance has released a report addressing the image-licensing industry's key challenge, Infringements of Stock Images and Lost Revenues. The report addresses issues including image piracy, misuse of legally licensed images via repurposing or redistribution and the difficulty of copyright enforcement.
Several Getty Image announcements seem timed to one of the biggest photo events of the year: the Visa pour l'Image Festival, taking place this week in Perpignan, France. In addition to formally announcing its lowered Web-use license pricing, Getty has rebranded two of its services and selected the winners of its 2007 editorial-photography grants.
Corbis executives have repeatedly stressed that the company's goal is to ease the lives of overstressed, overworked ad-agency creatives. Now, Corbis' new "I Am Buried" integrated marketing campaign puts that promise into action.
Many professional photographers claim no one could make a living selling images for $1.00 to $2.00, but there are always exceptions. At 28, Yuri Arcus is the world's top selling microstock photographer and has a good chance of reaching his aspiration of earning $1 million from stock photography before he is 30.
Digital Railroad has launched the beta version of Research NetworkTM that enables picture buyers to submit research requests, free of charge, to more than 1,300 photographers and 65 agencies in 62 countries. Buyers may submit requests online in real time using their own descriptive phrases, or contact the research staff of Digitalrailroad.net MarketplaceTM.
Vegas Pro 8, the nonlinear audio and video-editing package by Sony Creative Software, now includes in-application access to Though Equity Motion's footage library. According to Thought Equity CEO Kevin Schaff, this integration of motion content into an editing application is a first. The exclusive application plug-in is designed to streamline the acquisition of stock footage.