Corbis Aquires TSM

Posted on 3/22/2000 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Corbis announced today that it has agreed to acquire The Stock Market.
TSM is estimated to have gross annual sales in the range of $35 million.

This addition expands the depth and breadth of content of Corbis' image collection,

particularly of the high end advertising oriented material, and extends and accelerates
Corbis' offerings of commercial photography to advertising and graphic designers.
The deal is expected to close in mid-April.

"The Stock Market is a strong player in the commercial photography market, and a good
fit for Corbis in its strategy to expand its commercial business in an all-digital
model," said Tony Rojas, president and CEO of Corbis. "The addition of The Stock Market
expands our international presence and greatly enhances our commercial offering to our

Corbis has been a pioneer in visual content in a digital format and has successfully
marketed a largely editorial file to editorial and consumer buyers through the internet.
Corbis now plans to expand its leadership role in the commercial photography market,
offering a one-stop shop to the creative community for both editorial and commercial

"As people in the professional creative community are seeing their jobs expanded and
enhanced by new technologies, Corbis and The Stock Market will join to offer advanced
digital image services for creative professionals," said Richard Steedman, president of
The Stock Market. "With our combined commitment to bringing the world's finest
photography to our clients through digital and traditional means, this move creates new
opportunities for photographers and clients alike."

Sources tell Selling Stock that TSM will continue to operate as a separate brand and
will not be fully integrated into the Corbis Images database to the extent the WestLight
file was 18 months ago. It is believed that Richard Steedman and Sally Lloyd have two
year employment contracts that these contracts can be extended, at their choice. It is
believed that the TSM staff, operations and their foreign network will be kept intact.

While this is certainly the best case scenario for photographers, and probably the best
way for Corbis to generate income from there new asset, it will be a total reversal from
Corbis' past strategy. In previous acquisitions Corbis has moved quickly to throw away
all brand identification and integrate the material into one database under the Corbis

WestLight has been totally absorbed, and for one reason or another, many of the best
selling WestLight images are no longer available on the Corbis site. This summer the
Sygma name will be wiped out and TempSport, Sygma and all the rest of the Corbis
database will be re-named Corbis France. Buyers that call Corbis asking for a specific
Bettmann picture are told the picture is not available if it isn't in the Corbis
database, even when the buyer knows that the image was previously available through

If Corbis intends to position TSM as a competitor to Getty's Stone brand there may be
some distinct advantages to keeping it separate from the rest of the Corbis database.
TSM already has a high profile identity for quality advertising images. Getty has made
Stone the flagship brand on Gettyone, but has diluted its value with all the other
brands offered at this same site. Now, as Getty tries to get buyers to think of Stone
as "generated images," not stock they have to figure out how to shed the negatives of
the Gettyone identity. Corbis and TSM can avoid this problem.

The Stock Market Web site at features full e-commerce for
traditionally licensed and royalty-free images, and CreativeVille, a comprehensive
online resource for the creative community. was the first to launch
a full e-commerce solution for purchasing traditionally licensed images, and continues
to expand and enhance the digital image e-commerce process through the creation of new
technologies and services.

The Stock Market Photo Agency (TSM) began operations in 1981 and features over three
million images from photographers worldwide, TSM serves the global creative community
through offices in the United States, Germany, France, England, Belgium, Austria, and
The Netherlands. In addition, TSM has over 30 international affiliate offices spanning
six continents.

With, TSM was the first to launch a full e-commerce solution for
purchasing traditional stock photography. Users can find, price, purchase, and download
traditional stock and royalty-free CDs and single images, access the Digital Image
Express delivery service, and request free research. TSM also features SharperSTOCKœthe
industry's only customer appreciation program rewarding frequent TSM users with
merchandise certificates redeemable at or The Sharper Image, or for
AAdvantageœ travel awards from American Airlines.

Copyright © 2000 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 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, 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:  


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