Random Thoughts 117

Posted on 3/3/2006 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



March 3, 2006

Corbis Announces 2005 Revenue

Corbis has told a few Wall Street analysts that their worldwide revenues for 2005 were $228 million. This was up from $170.4 million in 2004. On January 1, 2005 Corbis acquired Zefa with an approximate $41 million in 2004 revenue making the combined revenue for both companies approximately $211 million.

Thus, revenue growth for the year was approximately $17 million or about 8% of 2004 revenue. Indications are that the company remains unprofitable, but it is not clear how much it loses annually.

As a privately held company Corbis is not legally obligated to publish figures. However, for the past two years Corbis has held an annual meeting in New York aimed primarily at the New York investment community, and at that time supplied similar gross revenue numbers with no supporting detail. This year Corbis has chosen to release the numbers in a brief conference call to investors rather than in conjunction with their annual meeting.

Corbis is planning an invitation only "annual meeting" in New York on March 14th that will be primarily an event for the media. The program is entitled Confluence: Positioned for the Flow of Ideas and will feature speeches by owner Bill Gates and CEO Steve Davis.

According to sources the analysts were told that sales in the U.S. were down slightly in 2005 but that the company does not plan to lower prices to compete against micropayment stock photo distributors. There were also indications that some cost cutting initiatives would be implemented in 2006.

Index Stock Hit By Check Scam

Bahar Gidwani has reported in his blog, www.dimdump.com that Index Stock Imagery was recently hit by check scam where a group tried to pass more than $1,000,000 of fraudulent checks on Index's Bank of America account over a period of two days.

The account was the one that Index uses solely for the purpose of paying artists. Evidently someone had obtained access to a legitimate check and then created professional quality forgeries on simulated Bank of America check stock using the bank transaction codes and security information. The checks also had a copy of the CFO's signature on them.

Over a two day period they presented these checks to businesses and banks all over the country for sums ranging from $10,000 to $150,000. Bank of America noticed the checks and realized they were frauds so the scammers probably didn't get much for their efforts, but this action severely disrupted Index's normal efforts to pay photographers.

The balance in the account was frozen by Bank of America since they didn't know which checks were legitimate and which weren't. It was necessary for Index to establish a new account, with new funds, and reissue all the royalty checks recently sent to their artists. On top of that each time an artist sent the first check to his or her bank the check bounced and the artist was charged a $30 to $50 fee.

Over the last few years Index has had a history of slow pay of royalties to its contributors.
This latest incident, though evidently not in anyway Index's fault, tends to make all contributors nervous and wary of dealing with the company.

New TrendWatch Statistics

TrendWatch Graphic Arts reports that Ad Agencies account for only 16% of U.S. design and production establishments, but 57% of all revenues.

48% of U.S. printing and prepress establishments are small commercial and quick printers, and yet these small commercial and quick printers only account for 10% of all shipments in the industry.

Magazine publishers account for 33% of U.S. publishing establishments, and 40% of revenues.

WireImageStock Expands Content

WireImage Creative is now representing imagery from InsideOutPix, InspireStock, Asia Pix and Indiaimages and has now aggregated images from over 20 brands since the launch of its commercial division in September 2005.

Holger Laufenberg, Vice President of WireImage Creative says, " We have been working to make distinctive content available through WireImage's Creative division. We are now entering an expansion phase that concentrates on specialty collections, such as general lifestyle and business images."

AP Photographers To Shoot Stock

Under the new News Media Guild contract Associated Press photographers will be allowed to shoot stock images during their off hours and use their company-owned photo equipment for this purpose.

The photographers will retain copyright to the images created and AP will try to market the images giving the photographers 35% of the gross sale. Employees are also free to market their images on a non-exclusive basis through other agencies or on their own. If the photographer chooses to use an outside source for market, AP still retains the right to also market the images and in this case AP will only pay the photographer a 10% royalty.

Despite the fact that AP has a huge library of historical pictures they have not been a major player in the stock industry.

Photononstop Leading Independent Agency In France

With all the sales of French photo agencies recently, Photononstop now claims the title of the leading independent photo agency in France.

Gilles Taquet and Christian Delannoy are the founders of Photononstop and they claim that the leading American companies (read Getty, Corbis and Jupiter) now own nearly 60% of the market in France.

"Photononstop is now the only independent, broad-ranging photo agency, combining exacting aesthetic standards with local service and very strong positioning: photos with a 'French touch'", says Christian Delannoy.

At Photononstop, the choice of models, venues and design is guided by a determination to present photos that are culturally at one with the expectations of the agency's clients. Collections are exclusively produced by French and European photographers who combine rigor and creativity. "Our selection reflects Parisian luxury products", emphasized Gilles Taquet, Co-chairman of the agency responsible for artistic policy, as that is the direction that we are going to take with our next productions". Photononstop will shortly be investing over a million euros to offer its clients new images. The company has over 3 million photos, 400,000 of which are on-line on photononstop.com.

New Positions For Experienced Professionals

Ellen Boughn has been appointed Vice President, Content Strategy and Product Manager, and Rights-Managed content at SuperStock. Ms. Boughn, most recently served as Vice President at UpperCut Images and her experience includes Corbis and Stone, now a part of Getty Images, Workbook Stock, and Artville. She was also the founder of After Image.

Phyllis Giarnese has joined WireImage Creative as Collections Director for WireImageStock. Ms Giarnese was Director of Photography at Veer, Solus Images and Director of catalogs at FPG.

WireImage Creative has also announced the addition of Alan Lee as a Senior Sales Executive charged with further increasing the agency's reach among advertising and graphic design agencies. Lee was part of the Account Executive team in charge of establishing Veer in the art buying community, prior to operating his own stock business, StockRep.

Copyright © 2006 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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