Index Acquires Picture Cube & Stock Imagery

Posted on 6/22/1998 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Bahar Gidwani of Index Stock is wasting no time in spending the $18.6

million in venture capital he acquired in March (reported in the May printed

issue of Selling Stock).

On June 1st he acquired The Picture Cube, Inc. of Boston, which earlier


year acquired Third Coast Stock Source Inc., formerly of Milwaukee. Index will

retain the Boston office as base for the company's Editorial collection.

Two weeks later, on June 15th Index announced the acquisition of Stock

Imagery of Denver. While Stock Imagery has been somewhat regional in sales focus

in the U.S., it has an extensive global reach with agents in 50 countries

representing their catalogs. Index will retain the Denver office of Stock Imagery

and expand its sales efforts into the Mountain States. Index Stock now has

offices in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Denver.

In May we reported to our on-line subscribers that 15 members of the Stock

Imagery team were dismissed without notice, including Phil Lawson who had been

chief operating officer and his wife Pamela who was creative director. The staff

remaining after the reshuffle numbers about 26.

Both Lawson and Garry Adams, the President of Stock Imagery, were involved

in discussions with Index that took place over serveral months prior to the

announcement. Sources tell us that there were some major disagreements between

Lawson and Adams over strategy and that Index insisted these issues be laid to

rest before they closed the deal.

Lawson was heavily committed to the "Imagegate" on-line delivery system, and to a

spin-off called "Weddinggate." After the dismissal of Lawson, Adams told us that the

"Imagegate" software was not working as promised, that development was way behind

schedule and that the "Weddinggate" idea would no longer be pursued because it

was not related to Stock Imagery's primary line of business.

Sources at Index tell us that they are reviewing the "Imagegate" software and

trying to see if there is any way to take advantage of the investment already

made, but it is unlikely that Index will try to operate two systems. Index has

announced that the entire Stock Imagery collection will be scanned into the

"TeleFocus Image Browser", giving Index clients and staff access to the images

from their own workstations. The Denver office will be completely

automated and integrated into the Index on-line network in the near future.

Sources not directly connected with either of the two companies, have told

us that Stock Imagery made an attempt to license

"Imagegate" to Zefa in Germany for $400,000, but the German agency was not

interested. There was also an attempt to market it to Visual Communications

Group in the UK, but VCG had no interest because of their committment to a

different system. We believe Stock Imagery photographers

should expect the "Imagegate" system to disappear.

A new 352-page Stock Imagery catalog, entitled "Fresh Catch," has been edited and

is still due out in October. Stock Imagery has been in business for 18

years, focusing especially on

strong nature photography, regional skylines, lifestyles, business concepts

and sports. The collection of approximately 200,000 selected images is very

tightly edited from the work of over 390 photographers.

Adams describes the match between Index and Stock Imagery as a "great fit"

that will benefit his photographers by adding a larger and more national

sales force and advanced technology. "While our international network has

been one of the best, our domestic reach has been hampered a little by our

location. There's going to be an immediate benefit to our photographers

from aligning with Index's national sales force," says Adams.

Peter Vollers will manage the day to day operation of the Denver office. While

the press release indicates that "Garry Adams will continue to be involved in

the creative process in an as

yet unspecified way, probably from South America" our sources indicate that Adams

will probably not remain a part of the management team for any significant period

of time.

Sources also tell us that current annual sales at Stock Imagery are in the range

of $2 to $2.5 million and that the price paid by Index for the agency was

about twice the annual sales.

We have no reliable information as to the amount

paid for The Picture Cube, but clearly it is a smaller agency. Sources tell us

that Index still has a lot of money to spend and that we should

expect to see more acquisitions in the not too distant future.

Picture Cube

Sheri Blaney, Founder & President of The Picture Cube, Inc., will remain in

the Index Stock Boston office as a Managing Director. The Boston office will be

base for the company's Editorial collection. Given her experience and

understanding of the editorial market for stock (book publishing, not hard

news) Blaney will play an important role in Index's plans for expansion.

Blaney spent a number of years in publishing as an art and photo

editor before opening Picture Cube twenty-one years ago. She has built the

company into one of New England's leading sources of stock photography with a

national reputation in the editorial field and a prime source for photos of

multi-cultural lifestyles, New England

locations, world travel, underwater habitats, black and white contemporary

and vintage images, and many other subjects. The Picture

Cube's web site is located at

In explaining why she chose Index, Blaney said, "We were

interested in an agency with the technological savvy that could bring us

into the electronic age. Index is the right match -- besides being

innovative, they treat their contributors with a great deal of respect.

Both Picture Cube and Third Coast photographers have a lot to gain by our

affiliation with Index -- their catalog production schedule and electronic

network will give our artists an increased opportunity for sales and


Index CEO Bahar Gidwani comments, "The Picture Cube has been one

of our content partners for some time, contributing images to our catalog

and CD products. We know their photographers and their staff, and respect

the quality of the images they have collected. Joining forces is one more

step in our plan to become one of the industry's dominant players."

The Picture Cube adds more than 400 photographers and 500,000 images to

the Index archive.

With the completion of these two acquisitions Index Stock will represent more

than 1,165 professional photographers and has more than 1.7 million photos in

its library. Index plans to produce and distribute five print catalogs this year

including two general purpose catalogs, a Sports & Leisure catalog, a Humor

catalog and a Medical catalog. It distributes 115,000 copies of the 240-page

general catalog, with about half going to its foreign agent network.

One unique feature about the Index system is that they scan a larger percentage

of their general file images than most other major agencies. This enables each

Index salesperson to access Index's entire collection of scanned images by

using their TeleFocus browser on-line. When a customer installs their TeleFocus

software, at no charge, he or she may also get full access to Index's entire

collection of

scanned images - not just those that are in Index's catalogs or on it's CDs.

Customers can download any of the images for layouts and comps and show them

to clients before committing to licensing them. For more information, visit

the Index web sites at and


The above copyrighted article(s) are for the sole use of Selling Stock

subscribers and may

not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner to

non-subscribers without

the written permission of Jim Pickerell, the editor. For subscription

information contact:

Selling Stock 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone


fax 301-309-0941, e-mail:

Copyright © 1998 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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