The Corbis incentive program announced last week offers up to 90% discounts on RF images - with a few twists. The discounts are not for everyone, but only available to a targeted group of current customers.
With this offering, Corbis is reaching out to low-volume or lapsed customers in the U.S. and Canada who they want to revisit Corbis or purchase more images. Only those who have received the promotional email qualify. None of their high-volume customers qualify for this offer.
Customers may choose any of the RF images on the Corbis site, regardless of whether they are Corbis-owned images or provided by Image Partners. This type of promotion is allowed under Corbis' existing agreements with image partners. A Corbis spokesperson said: "Since this promotion is for such a targeted group of lower-volume clients, the higher discounts are intended to engage them and keep them coming back which will ultimately benefit our partners."
Discounts are substantial, although I believe the 90% in the promotion makes it sound larger than it actually is. If RF images are list priced at $230 and the customer buys one image every round, he will pay $644 for seven images that would normally cost $1,610. Many of these customers are probably not big users of images, so they may not have a use for five images every time they make a purchase. However, if the customer buys the maximum of five each round for a total of 35 images, he will pay $3,220 rather than $8,050. The image producers who lose big on this are those whose images happen to be chosen in the later rounds.
These discounts are certainly attractive enough that they should encourage customers who get the offer to check out Corbis first for future image requirements.
Corbis can expect to glean valuable information from this offering. Low-volume customers may purchase few images strictly according to need. Incentives are not going to drive them to buy more. After this promotion, Corbis should have a better sense of which customers need a few images annually, and which ones get many of their images from other sources. That enables Corbis to better target future marketing.
Because the end date of the promotion is open, Corbis can determine usage rates over several months, or, if there is massive use of the promotion and they feel it is costing too much, shut it off at any time with two-weeks notice. Given the way the offering is phrased, and because it is only available to specific customers, Corbis could end the promotion at different times for different customers.
One of the interesting things about this is that low-volume customers are getting a break. Everyone knows that high volume customers get discounts, sometimes very substantial ones. Some European customers have asked when the promotion will be extended to them. At this point there is no plan to offer it in Europe.