Acquisitions

Posted on 2/10/2006 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Everyone knows there has been a lot of consolidation in the industry. Many brands that used to be well known have disappeared completely. A few like Stone and Image Bank are still technically brands under the Getty umbrella, but the character of such brands has changed. The general consensus is that once a brand is acquired and consolidated into a larger collection buyers quickly migrate to searching the larger collection and seldom, if ever, search in the old brand's smaller collection, even if they have the opportunity to do so.

Keeping track of what happened to the old names is often difficult and the list below is my attempt to sort out who owns what now. The column on the left is the current parent company. The middle column is those brands that were acquired by the parent and the column on the right is companies that were first acquired by the company in the middle company before later becoming part of the current parent. In some cases such as Scanpix and Pressens Bild the consolidation was a merger of equals, but it probably will not be long before one name will be lost to history.

In general fewer and fewer large companies are controlling the industry. The middle sized companies are disappearing as they are acquired and the gap between large and small is getting bigger making it that much harder for the small companies to survive.

The following are some of the ways (but not a complete list) that acquisitions have tended to negatively impact photographers. For the most part there is little a photographer can do to prevent these problems from occurring, but recognizing them is the first step to developing a strategy to deal in the future with this new business reality.

  • Those who work for the companies that were acquired are finding it harder and harder to get new images accepted because the new parent has too many to choose from.

  • Many of the less productive photographers who previously worked for the acquired brands are being dumped as the companies try to reduce the number of photographers they represent.
  • Many of the images the previous companies represented have been taking out of the market by the new parent including images that were generating significant revenue and images that do not age given the nature of their subject matter.

  • The reduction of the middle ground has made it harder for many photographers to place their images where they can be seen. The big distributors won't accept them and the little distributors tend not to reach enough customers to generate a reasonable amount of income for the photographer.

  • Integration into new accounting systems often result in delayed and inaccurate payments for months, and in some cases years before all the old data is fully integrated into the new system.

  • The standards for "accepted images" have been raised increasing the production costs for the photographers.

  • The model and property release requirements have become much more stringent taking many images that might have been marketable in the past out of the new market.

  • Certain types of "street" and "candid" photography that was the source of much variety of offering and a large amount of use in the past have become virtually unmarketable do to the impossibility of obtaining adequate model releases.

While there seems to be less and less of any size or significance left to acquire it also seems clear that the acquisition binge will continue.

Acquisitions

GETTY IMAGES      
  Tony Stone Images    
    Click/Chicago  
    After Image  
    Allstock  
  PhotoDisc    
  Allsport    
  Art.com    
  American Royal Arts    
  Hulton Deutsch    
  Liaison    
  Newsmakers, LLC    
  Online USA    
  The Image Bank    
    Artville  
    Archive  
    Swanstock  
  VCG    
    Telegraph Colour Library  
    FPG  
    Bavaria  
    PIX  
    Giraudon  
    Definitive Stock  
    Colorific  
    Planet Earth  
  EyeWire Partners    
  I/US & Eyewire Services    
  Image Direct, Inc.    
  Imagenet Limited    
  Mission Studios Ltd.    
  Retrofile    
  Digital Vision    
  Photonica/Iconica    
  Medio Images    
  Rubberball    
  E-Lance Media GmbH    
  Bongarts Sportfotografie& Sportimage Foroagentur    
  Energy Film Library    
  iStockphoto    
  Stockbyte    
  StockDisc    
       
CORBIS      
  Ressmeyer Collection    
  The Bettmann Archive    
  Turnley Collections    
  LGI    
  Digital Stock    
  Westlight    
  Outline    
  Sygma    
  Tempsport    
  Saba Press    
  Sharpshooters    
  The Stock Market    
  Sekani & Second Line    
  Zefa    
  Roger Richman    
  Image 100    
  eMotion    
  Beateworks    
       
JUPITERIMAGES      
  Arttoday    
    Photos.com  
    PhotoObjects.net  
    Clipart.com  
  Comstock    
  Thinkstock    
  Hermea (Able Stock)    
  Dynamic Graphics    
    IT Stock  
    Creatas  
    Liquid Library  
    PictureQuest  
  Goodshoot    
  Picture Arts    
    FoodPix  
    Brand X  
    Botanica  
    nonstock  
  Bananastock    
  PR Direct    
  AgenceImage    
  Animation Factory    
  Stock Image    
  Stockxpert.com    
  Bigshot Media    
  The Beauty Archive    
  IFA Bilderteam    
  Workbookstock.com    
       
PHOTOLIBRARY      
  Photographers Library (UK)    
  VPA Images    
  Oxford Scientific Films    
  Garden Picture Library    
  Stock Image Group (NZ)    
  Photolibrary India    
  Monsoon Images    
  Anthony Blake Food Lib.    
  CDI Images (Middle East)    
  Index Stock Imagery    
    Telephoto  
    Profiles West  
    Southern Stock  
    The Picture Cube  
      Third Coast
    Stock Imagery  
    PhotoBank  
    LightSources  
    Image Ideas  
    Stockworks  
    WebSpice  
       
IMAGE STATE      
  Pictor    
    Uniphoto  
  International Stock, Inc.    
  Weststock    
  John Foxx BV    
  Zephyr Images    
  Adventure Photo & Film    
  Image Colour Library    
  Photolink, Inc.    
       
HACHETTE FILIPACCHI      
  Hoa Qui    
  Rapho    
  K2    
  Katz    
  Keystone    
  Gamma    
  Jacana    
       
AMANA      
  Orion Press    
  Sekai Bunka    
       
a21      
  Superstock    
  Ingram    
       
SCANPIX      
  Pressens Bild    
       
PHOTONONSTOP      
  Envision    
       
GRANT HEILMAN      
  Photo Network    
       
IMAGES.COM      
  Graphistock    
  Stock Illustration Source    


Copyright © 2006 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  

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