Random Thoughts 129

Posted on 1/3/2007 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



January 3, 2007

Hachette Fillipacchi Backs Out Of Stock Photography

The French publishing and media giant, Hachette Filpacchi Medias (HFM) has sold its complete stock photo interests to a French financial group called Green Recovery (www.green-recovery.com). Green Recovery specializes in buying troubled enterprises.

The brands involved in the sale are:

    GAMMA : News, Celebrity and Feature Stories

    RAPHO : In-depth Feature Stories

    HOAQUI : daily Life, Travel, World Discovery and Geography

    KEYSTONE : Historical Archives and Fine Arts

    JACANA : Nature, Fauna and Flora

    RAPHO : World-class Photographers' Lengendary Archives

    TOP : Gastronomy and Art of Living

During the last several years HFM has tried to streamline the operations of these agencies and establish a single web site for the group, but the stock photo division was never able to return a profit. In the last year a staff of 140 employees was reduced by nearly one-third, but this was still not enough to make the division profitable.

Stephan Ledoux and Olive Bloud, a former manager of the Paris based RF company, Iconotec, will manage the take-over for Green Recovery.


Getty Images has a new site called ViewImages.com that is designed to reach out to consumers who wants to see the latest pop culture images and it is designed to generate revenue by selling ads. According to Getty is hasn't been "officially launched" so they are not commenting widely on it at this time, but you can get a preview by going to www.viewimages.com. They expect to officially launch the site sometime in the first half of 2007.

Right now the site is only a shell of what it is planned to be according to Getty. There are still many planned product features and services to roll out before official launch. According to Jessica Ostrow, "Initially, we will be utilizing our wholly owned editorial and archive catalog of imagery, but intend on incorporating other Getty Images collections over time."

There seems to be no way to purchase rights to any of the images on the site. Getty says, "ViewImages is an editorial (informational) viewing site only at this time."

Ostrow adds, "ViewImages is a completely separate site and brand from Gettyimages.com. It was designed for the web consumer who wants to see the latest images relating to popular culture, capitalizing on the popularity of timely entertainment and sporting news and events. The Getty Images customer is a business to business customer and has a very different set of requirements for imagery including licensing, publication etc."

If Getty moves to incorporate images from other non-wholly owned collections the big question is how the rights holders will be compensated. It is worth noting that the major record labels that have been trying to block free use of their copyrighted content by consumers are now working out deals with sites like YouTube that enables them to share advertising revenue collected by such sites. While the algorithm for doing this sounds enormously complicated Getty may be contemplating something similar.

It may not be long before photographers and stock agencies will be faced with the decision of allowing certain free use of their images by consumers in exchange for some percentage of advertising revenue. This may finally open the way to monetizing consumer use of images.

Leading Stock Photo Sellers

As a result of all the acquisitions that have been made over the past year I have updated my
list of leading stock photo sellers that was first published in July 2003. The information can be found in Story 564.

iStockphoto Contributors And Getty

iStock tells it contributors, "We aren't taking our top contributors away from iStock. We're making iStock the complete agency for our exclusive contributors, with access to every aspect of the industry for those who reach the top."

"You've trusted us by becoming exclusive. Now we're expanding our relationship, by opening up the terms of Exclusivity to offer our hardest workers a connection with our special friends at Getty Images. It's what we've been working towards ever since the idea of joining Getty first appeared. Now it's time for another revolution."

More Crowdsharing TV Ads

In Story 896 we told you about how Frito-Lay's Doritos and the NFL were asking the average consumer to produce ads that will air during the Super Bowl. Now Unilever's Dove has asked consumers to create a 30-second spot for its new Dove Cream Oil Body Wash. The company promises that the ad that "best captures the essence of the new products and the brand's philosophy" will air during the Oscars.

NBC has invited fans of "The Office" to post promotions for the show on YouTube.

Discounts Are In

Everybody is looking for ways to increase their market share by offering discounts. Getty is offering 20% off to some customers. Jupiter is offering 30% off.

Image Source has a program call WISH where customers earn one WISH point for each Pound, Dollar or Euro they spend at Image Source Direct, plus 25 bonus points for their first purchase after signing up for the program. Customers can redeem points once they reach 100 points for gift certificates from Amazon®, iTunes®, Leisure Vouchers®, Voucher Express®, Justgiving®, Marriott Hotels®, Red Letter Days®, I Want One Of Those®, Fugitive Toys® (and Apple Store® for members in the USA only) or money off their next Image Source Direct purchase.

WireImage is offering gift cards worth 30% of the total accumulated purchases during the months of January and February. If an art director spends as little as $500 she gets a gift card worth $150.00. For those already buying images from WireImage it's a great deal.

The question relative to all these deals is whether they will encourage anyone who has been buying images from other sources to switch some of their purchasing. We've talked to one company that tried the gift card strategy in the past and it brought in no new business. It will be interesting to see whether the discounts improve the revenue positions of any of these companies or whether they are just competing with each other in a race to the bottom.

Marketing Model Shifts

A recent whitepaper by the Winterberry Group finds that technology is rapidly changing traditional marketing models and has resulted in diminished impact of tried-and-true platforms such as television and print.

Consumers expect relevant product information to be available at their fingertips and are weary of "intrusive media bombardment". Much of the past revenue of the stock photo industry has been the result of media bombardment and there is a big question as to whether as much generic photography will be needed when "relevant product information" begins to play a bigger role in what consumers want and what is delivered to them.

Anthony J. Hopp, chairman of the Association of American Advertising Agencies, is quoted as saying, "The agencies that will succeed are the ones... that can find the new ways to engage and connect with consumers. If you're not doing that, you're not going to be in business."

Offshoring Text Editing To India

Indian recruiting firms are urgently looking for English speaking business writers with "experience in editing and writing for US/International Media" who are willing to relocate to Mumbai of Bangalore in India.

These writers are also expected to work night shifts that coincide with normal business hours in the U.S. and London. Publishers in the Western world faced with sagging circulation and advertising revenue are increasingly looking for ways to cut costs. Outsourcing to areas where the costs of living, and thus salaries, are lower is accelerating.

What happens to writers relates to photographers in a couple ways. First potographers with skills at writing and a desire for travel may want to consider such opportunities. In addition it is important to consider how much photography could be easily outsourced. Food, studio concepts and travel photography can be done as easily from a base in India as in the Western world.

More than two years ago, Reuters, the financial news service, opened a new center in Bangalore. The 340 employees, including an editorial team of 13 local journalists, was deployed to write about corporate earnings and broker research on U.S. companies. Since then, the Reuters staff at the center has grown to about 1,600, with 100 journalists working on U.S. stories. The company has also moved photo editing work from Canada and Washington, D.C., to Singapore.

The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio announced its intentions to shed 90 graphic design jobs and ship out the work to Affinity Express in Pune, India. The Contra Costa Times, a California newspaper newly acquired by Media News Group in the breakup of Knight Ridder, revealed plans to shift ad production positions to Express KCS in India, which bills itself as the "world's media back office."

Two stock photo operations in India that see likely to grow significantly are (www.photosindia.com) and (www.indiapicture.com).

Copyright © 2007 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 301-461-7627, 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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