Random Thoughts 131

Posted on 2/1/2007 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



February 1, 2007

Apologies To Getty Images

A reader (not someone from Getty Images) was kind enough to point out that my rant in "Getty Reports 2006 Results" (Story 921) about how Getty had changed the way they were reporting their numbers by dropping the decimal was incorrect. Getty is still supplying the numbers to one-tenth of a percent in the same way they always have. I just didn't know how to format the cells in Excel in order to see those decimals.

Hopefully, I have now learned - and will remember the next time. I apologize to Getty Images. I'll try to do a better job of reporting in the future. Story 921 has now been changed to reflect accurate figures, and I suggest you take another look at the numbers. As far as general trends are concerned there was very little change, but at least now we have correct numbers.

Cranking Up New Business Models

It seems clear from Getty Images' announcement of the Lifesize collection in November (Story 899) and their opening of their RF brands to iStockphoto's top photographers that the company wants to add a lot of new images quickly.

But cranking up the new systems necessary to encourage photographers to submit, editing to determine who is approved to submit and integrating the images into the database may take a little time.

On October 24, in his conference call to report Q3 2006 results, Jonathan Klein talked about the company's plans for a new creative Open workflow and said "the day is coming soon when we will be able to get a creative image from a photographer's camera to our site with the same speed and efficiency that we do with editorial."... "Photographers are clamoring to give us more content, not less, and they will embrace this."

In mid November 2006 I did a count of the images on the Creative section of www.gettyimages.com and came up with 1,767,214. Two months later on January 15th I counted $1,825,016, a 57,802 increase. But, if we go back to November 2005 they only had 1,155,511 images on the site. Thus, the number of images added between mid-November and mid-January is just a little more than half the average 101,950 for two month periods in the previous 12 months. Part of the reason for the slowdown was undoubtedly the Christmas holidays, but even taking that into account it doesn't look like we're seeing a dramatic increase yet.

I'm hearing three explanations for this from photographers.

    First, it appears photographers still don't like the idea of paying for position and the $50 charge to upload an image is causing many to hold back.

    Second, many photographers want to be able to control whether their images are being licensed as RM or RF. With this contract Getty has the right to switch images into a different licensing model whenever the company feels like it.

    Many PC photographers complain that after paying $50 per image to get images uploaded it takes 10 weeks or more to get them up.

    Finally, many photographers who want to submit images tell me that the process of preparing images to meet all the Getty standards for consideration and upload is taking longer than expected. The process of working through the contract and other paperwork, completely re-touch, color correct, keyword the images so they are ready to go live on gettyimages.com is taking longer than many expected.

Sometime later in the year there will probably be an increased flow, but it hasn't happened yet.

Citigroup Surveying Photographers

Citigroup is in the process of surveying 150 professional stock photographers who supply images to Getty, Corbis and Jupiter in an effort to get a better understanding of their view of the outlook for the stock photo industry. The results of the survey are expected to be published in February.

Swedish News Agency Buys Scanpix

Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå, (TT) (also known as The Swedish News Agency) the largest news agency in Sweden, has bought Scanpix, the largest stock photo operation in Scandinavia.

In February 2006 two Swedish photo agencies Pressens Bild (owned by the Bonnier publishing house) and Scanpix (majority owned by Schibsted publishing house) merged to form the present Scanpix.

The Swedish News Agency bought a 40% share of Scanpix in April 2006 and had planned to start its own picture agency. However, because a new agency would become a competitor to Bonnier and Schibsted, the main customers of the news agency, TT decided to acquire all of Scanpix. TT also plans to make a big investment in video.

Scanpix has been active in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and partly in the Baltic states. In Finland they co-operate with Lehtikuva which almost has a monopoly on news pictures in Finland. (AllOverPress has some Getty news pictures in Finland after Pressfoto's bankruptcy ten years ago.)

It is unclear as to how the acquisition may affect the approximately 66 employees at Scanpix. Swedish photographers have expressed concern about this development. They point out that when Scanpix and Pressens Bild merged it had a negative effect on both newspapers and photographers. And since the biggest publishing houses are the biggest owners of TT it seems likely that there will be a downward pressure on pricing.

While Scanpix is a major supplier of pictures of Scandinavia to both the local and international markets they have recently found it more difficult to sell pictures produced in other parts of the world to their Scandinavian customers. Many of the larger image producers worldwide who used to rely on Scanpix for their access to the Scandinavian market are now selling directly to Scandinavian customers without the aid of a local office or sales force.

TT is owned by several groups of newspapers, representing major media houses in Scandinavia as well as regional Swedish media.

Online Growth In Ad Usage

Strategic News Service CEO Mark Anderson predicts in his tech newsletter that online advertising will go to as much as 20% to 30% in 2007.

A study by Outsell, Inc. indicates that online's share of total advertising dollars will only be about 20% but that it will continue to take share from print. The use of pay-per-click ads will fall while cost-per-action ads' share will grow 8% and online sponsorship will grow 12%.

It used to be thought that online advertising was good for developing leads, but weak for branding. However, Outsell's survey found that advertisers consider online "very effective for branding."

Jupiter Offers HD Stock Footage

Jupiterimages has announced that they are offering high definition (HD) footage through the BBC's new "motion" web site. According to Jupiter the BBC team searched for one solid RF brand offering HD to rep on their site and settled on Thinkstock.

TV Ads By Amateurs

Don't forget to watch the Superbowl coverage this weekend to see the ads created by amateurs. We told you about this new crowdsourcing phenomenon in Story 896. Last night the Doritos ad that will be running and some of the runners-up got three minutes of exposure on ABC Nightly News. Expect to see a lot more about this method of production in the days ahead.

Doritos is paying $2.5 million for the time to show the ad during the Superbowl. The videographers who produced one of the ads said it cost him $150 to do the production. Another said he did his production for $7.00. This is the new value of creative content.

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 301-251-0720, 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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