364 ALASKA STOCK ROYALTY GOES TO 40%
December 18, 2000
Alaska Stock has asked their photographers to consider a change in the royalty percentage
from 50% to 40%. In exchange the agency will make ALL of the photographer' images available
on-line as well as not charge for catalog and dupe fees. Jeff Schultz, owner of Alaska
Stock, provided the following explanation of their plans.
Schultz -- We represent a little over 100 photographers. I have personally corresponded
with 95% of our photographers on this change and all but two realize how important it is
and costly it is to have a very good web presence. Those 95% have voted yes to this
change. We have one photographer who wasn't willing to wait for us to make this change
and actually wanted to pay us to get his general file images up on the web. We have
another who feels that we should go to the 60/40 split AND continue to charge for premium
JP -- What was the co-op fee charged for the last catalog?
Schultz -- Our catalog #4 which was mailed in June of 2000 cost a
photographer $100 per image if a photographer paid up front and $130 per image if they
chose to take the fee out of their sales. If they don't pay up-front, we take up to 25%
out of a photographers' portion of their monthly checks until all their catalog fees are
JP -- What is the current dupe fee?
Schultz -- We call it a "premium set fee". Images in our premium set are exclusive to
Alaska Stock and are duped, keyworded, scanned, and slated for the next print catalog.
This fee is currently $28 per image.
JP -- On average after all the catalog and dupe charges are removed will the
photographers be getting smaller royalty checks, or checks the same size?
Schultz -- We expect more sales overall and therefore larger checks because of the change
to aggressively market MORE of their images and therefore a client is apt to find the
image instead of moving on somewhere else.
JP -- Is there any charge for scanning and keywording images that are put on-line or on
Schultz -- We have never charged photographers a fee for producing a CD or the website or
for general file images being scanned and key worded and put on-line.
JP -- Would the 40% apply on revenue received from sub-agents?
Schultz -- No, subagent sales remain at 50%.
JP -- How are sales from old catalogs handled?
Schultz -- If a sale is made because a client saw the image in a previous catalog the
split remains 50/50. Likewise, reuse of images that were originally sold at 50/50 are
still at the 50/50 split.
JP -- Can you explain why you felt this move was necessary?
Schultz -- We are adding more value to our photographers' images than we ever have before
by making them available on the web, as well as through our traditional marketing.
I don't know of anyone in the stock business that does not see the web as THE way the
majority of the stock photography business will be transacted in the future. I
absolutely agree 100%. We feel that not too long from now, images that are just filed in
a general file will simply just sit there. Of course there are also those clients who
indeed do call us and have us search for images and send transparencies. Therefore, we
now need to operate efficiently in both a digital and analog world.
Alaska Stock is faced with a much larger increased cost in doing business in order to
stay up with technology and client demands for immediate access to our images.
Many clients want to see images today. In order to make our photographer's images
readily available it must be digital. If it's scanned, our in-house sales people can get
the image to a client right away by e-mailing them a light box.
With all this said, we now not only need to do things as we have
before: edit images, enter into a database, label, file, market, send out images,
re-file, invoice etc. We now need to get all our images in a digital environment where
they can be seen instantly. This goes way beyond just scanning and keywording. It
involves digital storage, RAID systems, constant enhanced software upgrades for the web,
web maintenance, higher cost employees on the tech side, enhancing our product, etc. And
we must now do a better job of marketing our images in both digital and traditional ways.