Random Thoughts 122

Posted on 7/21/2006 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



July 21, 2006

More On Footage

As a follow up to my article on Footage (Story 854), Phil Bates of Artbeats offered the following observations.

Artbeats has been selling royalty free stock (RF) footage since 1997. Bates believes the RF side is growing faster than the traditional licensed side and they have seen solid growth significantly above 12%. He said, "After the internet bubble burst we saw stagnant growth for 2 years but no drop. I think Getty's drop reflected the impact on traditional licensed footage sales."

Currently, they have a tightly edited group of about 12,000 clips but Bates points out that clip count can sometimes be misleading. He said, "Stock houses typically include every take on every tape they receive as part of their library. Sometimes they purchase huge libraries of old footage, much of which would not be relevant for today. This makes searching for the right clip tedious and often makes it necessary for the customer to pay them for research and then lab fees. By pre-choosing only the best shots, we bypass all those issues, and thus our clip numbers are correspondingly low."

It is Artbeats practice to choose only the best takes with the highest quality shots to run through its production cycle which includes digitally removing dust and scratches from every film clip.

As technology has improved it has become more and more practical for smaller editors, boutiques and freelancers to make use of footage. The users include game developers, event videographers, event production (background behind the talent), trade show displays, sales videos, training videos, indie film makers, church media,
corporate graphics departments, etc.

Bates continued, "Regarding the format, we have shot on 35mm since the start, but have accepted and now shoot footage on the F900 CineAlta (digital HD) camera. In our view it is the only format that compares well to 35mm at HD resolution. We feel that shooting and producing footage at HD resolution is well worth the effort since that segment has the most potential and current healthy growth."

I asked if he thought the same thing was happening in video that happened in stills 25 years ago. At that time everyone thought that stock images had to be shot on 2 1/4 x 2 1/4. Then 35mm came along and provided a lot more flexibility than the larger format. Many users found that they could get all the quality they needed out of the smaller file sizes.

"The quality of the content is certainly what helps set companies like us apart, but users don't always choose based on the source acquisition method. We have a small lower-end DV line with some subjects that do very well. So sometimes compelling subject matter can trump technical quality.

"Without being too specific, I'll just say that our DV line (called V-Line) is less than 25% of the total. Also, we haven't been developing that line lately so the growth rate is lower than everything else."

I also pointed out that it seems the main problem for new entrants into the video business is the huge initial outlay for equipment. If they could get started with a lower investment there might be a much greater variety of material available.

Bates said, "You are right that the challenge for producers (cinematographers that we represent) is the cost -- not only equipment, but insurance, crews, and other logistics as well. It's significantly higher than stills. So, it is a challenge for a producer to be able to finance a shoot just on royalties. Much of the footage we represent was shot for other programs and we are able to re-purpose it for extra revenue. It is important for cinematographers to have a clause in their contracts that allows them to use the outtakes for stock. Most of them don't think of this angle."

In answer to my question about the use of inexpensive cameras to produce digital video Bates pointed out, "It may be true that the less expensive cameras in the $10K - $20K range will produce material that is good enough for most stock customers. However, that could be a two-edged sword. If the average videographer/editor has easy access to cameras that can shoot footage of sufficient quality, they may be less likely to purchase stock and may choose to shoot it themselves. Since it will take a while for the HD dust to settle on this issue we'll stick with the higher end spec is for now, plus we'll continue shoot content that is not easy to duplicate."

He continued, "There is another issue too. The footage that is easy to shoot; nature, timelapse, etc. is less valuable to us because our competition can do the same thing fairly easily. So, the Artbeats producer has the added pressure to shoot compelling and unique material. This also can increase the cost.

"I think that shooting lifestyles is a good subject for new producers to invest in, especially those with ethnic subjects. They will always be needed by stock houses and as the fashions change, they will have to be re-shot. This will go on and on."

Artbeats is one of the few stock houses that also produces footage in-house. It tries to shoot hard-to-acquire material, like gyrostabelized aerials, pyrotechnics, lifestyles, extreme slow motion, and remote locations.

Jupiter Launches Micropayment Site In Japan

Jupiterimages division has launched Photos.jp (http://www.photos.jp/), the first micropayment stock photo Web site produced in Japan. Photos.jp was developed and built in Japan with Jupitermedia's partner Aeria, Inc. and utilizes software based on Jupiterimages' partner Stockxpert.com (www.stockxpert.com), a leading micropayment stock photography Web site.

"We are excited to have launched Photos.jp in Japan. Along with Stockxpert.com, which is available in eight languages, Jupiterimages has become an international leader in the rapidly growing stock photo micropayment field," stated Alan M. Meckler, Chairman and CEO of Jupitermedia Corporation.

Getty Gets Creative In Going After Jupiter's Customers

On his blog, Alan M. Meckler, Chairman and CEO of Jupitermedia Corporation, reports a new effort by Getty Images to try to draw customers looking for Jupiter to the Getty web site. Several months ago he pointed out that Getty Images was buying the Jupiterimages brand names on Google to promote their offerings. Within minutes of his posting this information on his blog, someone in Seattle pulled the ads.

Now Getty Images appears to be getting creative. Instead of buying the keyword "Jupiterimages" they must have thought hard on how they might not be caught. Getty seems to have bought the keywords "jupiter images" (note lower case and two words).

Meckler says, "When a company like Getty Images has to stoop to such marketing tactics one has to wonder, to paraphrase Shakespeare, if there is not 'something rotten in Seattle.'"

Online Ad Spending Up

According to a study conducted by Deutsche Bank in conjunction with MediaPost online ad spending was up 13.8 percent over Q1. The cost of premium inventory pricing increased 6.6 percent and run of network inventory increased 2.7 percent.

To compile the data, 39 media executives were questioned about their clients' experiences with Internet advertising in the first quarter and their expectations in Q2.
Collectively, the respondents spent $152 million on Internet advertising in the first quarter.

It should be noted that this is a small percent of total Internet advertising and thus may not be representative. The Interactive Advertising Bureau says Internet advertising spending in the U.S. in 2005 was $12.542 billion. Zenith Optimedia says global ad spending for the Internet channel was $18.478 billion and total worldwide ad spend for 2005 was $406.515 billion.

NBC Universal To Use Digital Railroad For Image Distribution

NBC Universal (www.nbcuphotobank.com) has selected Digital Railroad's technology to archive and distribute NBC Universal digitized photo assets to enable the next step in the studio's recently announced digital media distribution and licensing initiative, directed by Kevin Fitzgerald, Vice President, Digital Media Distribution for NBC Universal.

With the creation of this new business unit, NBC Universal becomes the first major television or film studio to manage and market its own photo licensing and distribution strategy, rather than simply bundling its content as part of an outside agency offering. The digital media distribution group will actively develop, digitize, manage, distribute, license and market NBC Universal's exclusive and valuable photo archive - which includes millions of images, dating back to the 1940s up to and including current images from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

"As we move into the next phase of this exciting business venture, we are pleased to announce our alliance with Digital Railroad. Their feature-rich digital technology platform enables NBC Universal to display and protect our valuable photo assets while we provide our valued clients and photo buyers with an efficient and easy to use digital image archive search, delivery and workflow solution," said Ray Slay, Vice President, NBC Universal Photography and New Media.

$.25 Per Download Adds Up????

The following was posted on a Micro Payment forum recently

That's just smart business. Consider: if you have 500 decent photos approved, and make $250 per month with that, you have increased your income by $3,000 per year. That's the same as putting $60,000 in the bank at 5%.

Evidently there is no investment in producing and putting those 500 decent photos online.

Twenty years ago I used to think that my Rights Managed photos would go on producing revenue forever. Plowing energy and resources into producing more looked like a great long term investment. Technology changed all that .... And I expect it will do it again!!!

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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