Jupitermedia Acquires ArtToday

Posted on 8/18/2003 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

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JUPITERMEDIA ACQUIRES ARTTODAY



August 18, 2003

ArtToday.com was recently acquired by Jupitermedia. One of the assets of ArtToday
is Photos.com which offers a subscription service to RF images.


ArtToday had about $4.1 million in revenues in 2002 but very little of that was
generated by Photos.com since it was not established until November 14, 2002.
ArtToday's 2003 financial report (ending in June of 2003) is not available at this
time, but according to Alan Meckler, Chairman of Jupitermedia, Photos.com's sales
"have been more than doubling every six months". At the pace it is growing he
expects that in 8 to 15 months Photos.com will generate more than 50% of the
revenue of the ArtToday division.


While the demand for clip illustrations is stable, there is dramatic growth in the
demand for photos according to Meckler. Overall ArtToday has been growing at a rate
of over 30% annually and with the additional push of Jupitermedia marketing Meckler
expects the growth rate to be even higher in 2004.


The power of Jupitermedia is that it has over 20 million unique visitors per
month. About half of them are internet site developers, graphic designers, or
involved in providing marketing services for internet related companies. All these
people are potential imagery users. According to Meckler the site is the, "number
one network in the world for people who design, develop and work on web sites."


Jupitermedia provides advertiser and vendors with a means to reach a large
community of Internet and Internet technology professionals and its objective is to
maintain and strengthen its position as a leading provider of global real-time
news, research and business information focused solely on the Internet industry. It
includes Internet.com, EarthWeb.com, ArtToday.com and the company plans to launch
Animation.com in September. The network has over 165 Web sites and 175 e-mail
newsletters that generate nearly 230 million page views monthly. While the majority
of these 8 million page views a day come from North America, 35% of them come from
other parts of the world giving the company a strong international reach.


The site was originally designed to offer a lot of fee content and to earn its
revenue from advertisers like of IBM, Microsoft, HP, Sun Microsystems, Oracle,
Lucent, etc. who wanted to market to the people coming to look at the free content.
They have several hundred advertisers participating on the site, and three years
ago 100% of their revenue came from advertising. During the online advertising
slump they looked for other things they could sell to the people drawn to the site.
They developed a seminar and trade show business, purchased Jupiter Research (and
changed their name) and ArtToday. Now, close to 50% of Jupitermedia's $40 million
in 2002 revenue comes from services they provide, not paid advertising.


The beauty of the model is that they have a powerful community of unpaid sites that
drive people to their paid areas. By analyzing the interests of the people coming
to the unpaid sites they can target promotions for their various paid services
toward those most likely to need them. The 20 million unique visitors a month then
becomes a tangible asset that no one else targeting this segment of the market has,
according to Meckler.


Photos.com


Meckler said, "Our greatest growth (in the ArtToday division) will come from photos
and we're committed to making that happen." Currently the site has about 70,000
images and they are planning to have more than 100,000 in the near future. About
50% of the images come from agencies and the rest have been supplied directly by
photographers. Some of the content is wholly owned but over 80% is licensed and
they pay royalties based on downloads. The royalties vary based on the quality of
the content.


While customers get unlimited access to the images on the site during the time they
subscribe, Patricia Vargas, Director of Content for Photos.com, says, "Most
customers only download the images they actually intend to use. Some initially go
in and treat it like a buffet, but they soon discover that these images take up
too much valuable space on their hard drive and they can get what they really need
any time they want it. It's just as easy to come in, take what you need, use it on
your project and come back in on the next project and pay for another one month
subscription. Since the images are always available customers tend to move back to
just downloading what they actually need."


Vargas makes all of the creative decisions related to acquiring content and is looking to fill
holes in the collection, but says she, "doesn't what a lot of photographers with
the same kinds of content fighting for the same dollars." Unlike some of the other
RF and Subscription operations that focus on putting together a small team of
photographers who produce all the imagery for the company, she would like to
acquire imagery from a broad group of suppliers. "Ultimately, we are trying to
create a pool of photographer talent that covers the whole gamut of the thematic
makeup of the industry. There are a lot of benefits to having many suppliers from
around the world because the content will have more of a global feel in general,"
she said.


Despite the fact that the focus of their marketing is to online users, they ask
photographers to submit at least a 45MB digital file. "Who knows where the
industry will be in three to four years so we like to leave our options open,"
Vargas explained.
Photographers also need to supply keywords with the images they submit, but
Photos.com does have a team that reviews the keywords, corrects, and augments what
is supplied. Photos.com would like to have a minimum of 10 keywords supplied for each
image as they focus a lot of attention on the metadata that goes with the
images.


At the moment they are not looking at analog collections. "There is such a wealth
of digitized content available it is not necessary to consider film," Vargas points
out. However, she doesn't want to absolutely rule anything out, but says, "It would
have to be a pretty compelling collection to be considered as film."


Vargas has 15 years previous experience in the RF industry and has worked for
Corel. She also ran the production operation at Hemera Images. Photos.com is based
in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached at patriciav@arttoday.com.


Online advertising is starting to grow again in the last three months after being
down for three years. According to Meckler, "The slump forced us to look at other
lines of revenue and now as buyers come back into the market we are poised to
explode. Now we are a much better company because we have more legs on the stool."


Copyright © 2003 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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