Picture Network International, Ltd. (PNI), a Kodak Company, and Cinebase
Software Inc. have signed a letter of intent to merge and create a new
company which will be a leading provider of media asset management services.
Still photographers will be interested in this merger because PNI is also in
the business of licensing rights to still images and Cinebase will add a
video and film content aspect to these licensing services.
PNI is parent of PictureQuest which has an on-line database of
more than 400,000 images from 65 stock agencies and stock photo suppliers.
Cinebase is actively investigating the potential of acquiring stock footage
for licensing to leverage their technology.
PNI also provides a media hosting services through MediaQuest which enables
companies to manage their own digital assets. PNI customers for this service
include Discovery Communications, Intel, McDonalds, Bechtel, Paramount Motion
Pictures and others.
Cinebase is a leading provider of digital asset management of video and film
content to the entertainment, government, corporate and advertising markets.
Cinebase -- with such clients as Nike, McDonald's, Young & Rubicam, E!
Entertainment, Warner Bros., the National Library of Medicine, the National
Imaging and Mapping Agency, and over 30 others -- have established themselves
as the leader in media management during the creation, production and
While exact figures are not available it is believed that the MediaQuest side
of PNI's business represents a much larger share than the PictureQuest
licensing side. Clearly, the major focus of the new company will be in
providing hosting services, not in licensing rights. Nevertheless, the
licensing side of the business should benefit from some of the synergies with
Robert Griffin, present CEO of PNI will be the new president and CEO or the
combined company. He said, "Our combined solution will cover the entire
media value chain, from collaborative creation through consumption. There is
simply no vendor with more customers or a more complete solution than our
newly combined entities."
Kodak will remain a significant shareholder in the combined entity. "We
expect to actively participate with the new company in developing and
marketing digital media management solutions for a variety of new markets,"
said Joerg Agin, President of Entertainment Imaging, the Eastman Kodak
Company division to which PNI reports. "The new entity will remain a Kodak
strategic partner and we believe that its success will prove valuable to
Kodak as the use of digital media becomes even more widespread."
PNI and Cinebase characterized the transaction as a "merger of equals" and
promised details on management, headquarters, naming, and other information
at a later date. PNI moved its offices to a new location in Fairfax,
Virginia at the beginning of October.
What Does It Mean For Still Photographers?
Clearly, the primary focus of this company will be in providing hosting and
asset management services for Fortune 1000 companies. However, the
PictureQuest arm of the company which is one the principle channels to
internet customers for small and medium sized stock photo suppliers is also
likely to be strengthened.
The merger should benefit PNI's stock photo suppliers by providing increased
resources for promotion and marketing and a higher level of visibility
among the business customer base.
Recent acquisitions and consolidations by Getty Images and other large
players have caused many photographers to believe that their opportunities to
participate in the stock photo market of the future were becoming severely
The enlargement and strengthening of the PNI business model gives new hope to
small stock agencies and individual photographers. It enables small
suppliers to participate on a major online database that is well promoted
and managed and still maintain many of the distinctives
of their unique services. Photographers who have found that they can't get
Getty, Corbis or the other majors to show their best work now have 65 small
to medium size agencies to go to in order to get their images in a
competitive on-line database.