Random Thoughts 102

Posted on 5/10/2005 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



May 10, 2005

Bruce Coleman Ltd in UK Closes Doors

Creditors have been notified by a "licensed insolvency practitioner" in the UK that Bruce Coleman Ltd. is insolvent and going out of business.

This has absolutely no effect on Bruce Coleman Inc., owned and operated by Norman Tomlin in the U.S. In the early 1970's it was decided that Tomlin would go to the U.S. and establish a separate company using the Bruce Coleman name that was well regarded in the marketing of nature photography at the time. In the early days the two companies shared photographers.

However, in the late 1970's Tomlin bought out Coleman's interests in the U.S. operation and the companies have functioned as completely separate entities since that time with no fiscal connection and no other relationship.

Recently, Tomlin moved his U.S. company to Scarsdale, NY recognizing that in the current environment where virtually all sales are made through the internet there was no advantage to maintaining an office in New York.

It appears that the images on file at Bruce Coleman Ltd have been sorted by their owner's name and photographers have been notified that they may pick up their images on either May 9th or May 17th. It is unclear what will happen to the images if they are not picked up at that time.

PicScout and Digimark Partner

PicScout Ltd. and Digimarc Corp. have announced a new partnership combining image recognition and watermarking for online image protection and monitoring. As part of the partnership, Digimarc will begin using the PicScout Internet crawling technology to power the Digimarc ImageBridge MarcSpider search. The companies have also started a joint development project that is expected to be completed in the next six months to enhance Digimarc ImageBridge with PicScout's image recognition technology. The joint development will be funded in part by the BIRD foundation (www.birdf.com), which is an Israel - U.S. government foundation whose mission is to promote and support industrial R&D between Israeli and U.S. companies.

"By combining two leading technologies of watermarks and image recognition we truly strengthen the ability to protect and track visual assets. We are excited about the opportunity to work with Digimarc and expand our offering to current and future ImageBridge customers," said PicScout's CEO, Eyal Gura.

"We welcome PicScout as a key ImageBridge partner. The addition of PicScout's image matching capability to ImageBridge means we will be able to find more of our customer's images on more Web sites," added Scott Carr, President of Digimarc's Watermarking Solutions division.

In addition to the technology licensing and development agreements, the companies also signed a reselling agreement allowing both companies to resell their joint products.

UK Portrait Agency

The National Portrait Gallery (in the UK) and the Capture software company are working together on the first stage of an ambitious program to develop the Gallery's picture library service into the ultimate portrait agency.

The media's growing appetite for portraits of influential people to illustrate almost any topic, means there is already a healthy demand for the Gallery's images. Good customer service, through the Picture Library, has yielded excellent results, even during tough times in the industry. The Gallery is planning to build on this success by increasing the scope and scale of this service to clients, and the Picture Library is currently sourcing fully-fledged agency relationships with museums, galleries, individual artists and photographers, with the aim of developing the ultimate portrait agency. This extended collection will be marketed to a worldwide client-base, offering a valuable route to market for contributors under the Gallery's authoritative brand. This commercially-focused development compliments the existing academic role, as national center for portrait research, of the Gallery's Heinz Archive & Library.

Tom Morgan, Head of Rights & Reproductions at the Gallery says: "We were looking for more than a product - we were looking for a partner in the way forward. Capture emerged as a clear leader, on all fronts, offering an excellent, tried-and-tested, scalable product, a real partnership approach and an impressive engagement in all of the critical development areas in the picture library industry, at an affordable price."

Capture Ltd Managing Director Abbie Enock says: "We are absolutely delighted to be working with the National Portrait Gallery. They have an extremely professional team and we are thoroughly looking forward to every aspect of the project."

Science Faction on Gettyimages.com

Science Faction's image collection is now available for license through Gettyimages.com.

Science Faction was founded in 2004 by Roger Ressmeyer and represents imagery that ingeniously captures the universe of physical and natural sciences, high technology, medicine and space. The collection features the work of some of the world's finest photographers, artists and institutions.

Ressmeyer, a world-renowned photographer of space and science subjects, has been on the cutting edge of new stock photo industry trends for many years. In 1995 he sold his first science oriented stock agency to Corbis and went to work for that company in a senior executive position. Later he moved to Getty Images and was instrumental in developing Photographer's Choice and the Image Partners program. He left Getty in 2003 and after a short stint with RGB Labs, began the development of Science Faction returning to his passion for science and space imagery.

"We are delighted to be partnering with Getty Images, the undisputed leader in imagery distribution and services," said Ressmeyer, founder and chief executive officer of Science Faction. "Through their powerful distribution platform, we believe that this relationship will enable the Science Faction Image Collection to reach a vast audience of communication professionals around the world."

Getty Images will feature Science Faction's collection on www.gettyimages.com. Science Faction's artists include: Louie Psihoyos, David Scharf, Fred and Randi Hirschmann, Flip Nicklin in association with Minden Pictures, Chad Kleitsch, Nancy Kedersha, Henry Schleichkorn in association with Custom Medical Stock Photo, Yoav Levy in association with Phototake, Tony Hallas, and William Radcliffe.

Getty Announces Royalty Arrangement for DV Photographers

As part of its acquisition of Digital Vision, Getty Images has sent a letter to DV photographers announcing its new royalty percentage arrangements for these photographers. The letter said, "As an immediate benefit of the acquisition, the royalty amount paid will increase under the terms of the Digital Vision contract. The increase is due to the fact that Getty Images sales are now direct sales of Digital Vision."

They provided the following examples of the changes based on a $100 single image sale.

    1 - Previously a sale made by Getty Images was treated as an indirect sale and paid at 25% of net, i.e. 25% of 40% = $10 on a $100 sale.

    2 - Now sales made through the Getty Images site in the photographer's home territory will be paid at 25% of gross - $25 on a $100 sale.
    So direct sales made in-territory by Getty Images will increase from $10 to $25.

    3 - Previously a sale out of territory through Getty Images was paid at 25% of net. (as in point 1 above), i.e. treated as an indirect sale =$10.

    4 - Now a sale made by Getty Images out of territory, i.e. a Direct sale out of territory, is paid at 25% of 50% = 12.5% or $12.50 on a $100 sale.
    So a direct sale made out of territory by Getty Images will increase from $10 to $12.50

    All other sales (indirect) will continue to be paid at 25% of net.

    (The bold notations are mine and were not part of the original letter.)

Considering the Implications

While in all cases photographers should receive slightly more than they received previously, for some photographers it will be very slight as the vast majority of their sales will fall in the lower category (12.5% vs. 10%), not the 25% category.

The tricky factor is the definition of "home-territory". Previously, all DV sales made by Getty Images were handled as distributor sales regardless of where in the world they were made. So the photographer received $10 on every $100 sale made by Getty regardless of where the sale was made, or the photographer's home territory. Based on the best figures we can put together on DV's probable revenue I estimate that sales made through Getty Images were responsible for about half of DV's revenue.

The territory issue could have a big impact on UK and German photographers. Now if a sale is made by Getty as an out-of-territory sale (i.e. a sale in the U.S. of a UK photographer's image) the royalty share will be treated as if Getty Images is a distributor, not the direct seller.

It is worth noting in point 4 that the photographer gets "25% of 50%. What happened to the other 50%? That basically goes to the office making the sale and treats that office as a Getty "distributor" despite the fact that the office is wholly owned by Getty and fully integrated into the Getty system. This is a common practice in the industry, but one that many photographers do not fully understand.

All sales made by distributors will continue to be handled in the same way as they have been in the past with regard to royalties.

Copyright © 2005 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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