Random Thoughts 73

Posted on 2/17/2004 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



February 17, 2004

Masterfile and Zefa Expand Partnership in UK and Netherlands

Masterfile has closed its offices in the UK and the Netherlands and turned
representation of its collection in these two countries over to zefa.

Steve Pigeon, President of Masterfile says, "Zefa has a much stronger market presence in
the Netherlands and the UK than we do. We expect our presence on the zefa platform to
increase our sales in those countries dramatically."

Tomas Speight, CEO of zefa visual media adds "With more than 120,000 new Masterfile
images on our websites in Netherlands and the UK, we have undertaken another major step
towards our goal of offering our clients a full range of imagery covering all their
creative needs".

Masterfile and zefa have a long history of strategic cooperation, with zefa representing
the Masterfile collection in Germany & Italy (and now Netherlands & UK), and Masterfile
representing zefa images in Canada and the USA.

In the Netherlands Masterfile's long-time agent, Ton Mascini, decided to retire from the
stock photo business at the end of 2003 and helped smooth the transition to zefa
Nederland during December. Masterfile has told their photographers that they increased
their North American RM sales by 15% in 2003 and that they are looking to repeat in

Masterfile has also told its photographers that due to the different ways in which
Masterfile & zefa handle metadata for images, they have been unable to get our image
collections updated quickly as they would like on the respective websites, but that
programmers on both sides of the ocean working hard to resolve this problem as soon as

There have been rumors that zefa would try to acquire Masterfile, but it appears that
both companies have decided to remain independent and expand their cooperation with each
focusing on their area of strength where they can have the most influence and success.

Southern Star Group Merges With Oxford Scientific Films

Southern Star Group which has an interest in PhotoLibrary of North Sydney, Australia has
entered an agreement to merge its award-winning Oxford Scientific Films film and footage
libraries with PhotoLibrary.

Oxford Scientific Films has 350,000 still images and over 2,000 hours of film and
service a broad range of international clients including book publisher, magazines,
design agencies and exhibition companies.

Through its UK subsidiary, Photolibrary will acquire the shares of Oxford Scientific
Films Limited for which Southern Star will be issued further shares in Photolibrary. In
addition Southern Star will acquire additional shares in Photolibrary for $1 million
(Australian) in cash so that Southern Star will have a 46.46% total interest in
Photolibrary on completion.

The combined entity will have sales in excess of $8 million (Australian) per annum with
an impressive growth rate. It will have offices in Sydney, Melbourne, London and Oxford,
and a network of agents and distributors in 30 other countries.

Photolibrary will assume responsibility for new expenditures needed to rapidly digitize
the OSF library of still images. Southern Star will own and operate OSF's natural
history and film production unit.

Tim Moore, Managing Director of Photolibrary, said, "The Oxford Scientific brand is well
known throughout our industry for high quality content in the nature and wildlife area.
The supply of imagery and footage is a very high margin business, but increasingly
requires digital delivery to customers. With our extensive experience and in house
digitization and image management technology we have been able to complete this
transformation process (of PhotoLibrary material), and are now enjoying over 40% sales
growth and higher margins. We fully expect that we can transform the Oxford Scientific
business and substantially improve its growth prospects."

Southern Star is an integrated film and television production and distribution group and
is a publicly listed company trading as SSR on the Australian Stock Exchange.

New SLR's At PMA 2004 Show

Kodak announced its new digital DCS Pro 14n at the PMA 2004 show. The camera has a CMOS
chip and delivers 13.5 million pixel photos at full resolution. Images can also be shot
at 6 or 3 megapixel resolutions.

A modified pixel design, new analog-to-digital conversion board and a change in the
company that fabricates the sensor results in a CMOS imager that has lower noise
characteristics than the earlier 14n as well as a native sensitivity that's
approximately 1.3 stops greater, according to Kodak's Jay Kelbley.

The camera is fully calibrated for optimum results at ISO's between 160 and 800, but it
can also record photos up to ISO 1600 and is capable of combining multiple short
exposures for effective exposure times of up to 60 seconds with a drop of the ISO down
to 6. The DSC Pro 14n is also capable of recording a burst of 19 frames.

Since many of the camera's powerful features are on firmware and software, buyers have
access to free upgrades to maintain the latest version of these at all times.

List price for the camera is $4,999 and Kodak is expected to offer upgrades from its
earlier 14n model for around $1,500 beginning in mid-March.

For a more complete review of the camera check out Rob Galbraith's site at
www.robgalbraith.com .

Canon has also introduced the EOS-1D Mark II with an 8.2 megapixel CMOS sensor. This
camera can record JPEG images at 8.5fps in continuous bursts of up to 40 frames and RAW
images in continuous bursts of up to 20 frames.

Among the speed-increasing innovations this camera offers is the first use of dual
32-bit RISC CPU's to operate the camera's autofocus separately with one dedicated to
detecting focus while the second controls the lens drive.

The 35mm lens conversion factor on this camera is 1.3x unlike the Canon EOS-1Ds that
delivers a 24mm x 36mm photos at the rated focal length of the lens. The estimated list
price for this camera when it is available for delivery in April is $4,499.

Index Expands International Distribution

Index Stock Imagery has announced new distribution agreements with agencies in Germany
and Italy.

In Germany Avenue Images with headquarters in Hamburg will offer 300,000 of Index's high
quality images to the German editorial and commercial markets.

Avenue Images is a relatively new investor-backed company that began marketing images in
June of 2003.

According to Joachim Koutzky, Director of Avenue Images: "Our target audience is Ad
Agencies, Graphic Designers, Design Firms, Corporate Offices, Magazines and Book
Publishers. We represent nearly all the existing Royalty Free publishers in Germany.
Index is currently our largest source of Rights Managed images."

In Italy Index has named Grazia Neri its exclusive distributor. Grazia Neri plans to add
thousands of Index's images to its file.

Grazia Neri was founded in 1966 and soon became "an obligatory point of reference for
all Italian magazines and newspapers," says Gaia Tripoli, Manager of Grazia Neri. The
company is involved in assignment photography and book production. According to
Tripoli, "Grazia Neri is constantly in touch with all of the Italian magazines and
newspapers." Its newest department is devoted to stock sales for commercial advertising
and annual reports. "The opening of our own gallery in Milan and the organization of
many photography exhibitions in Milan, Rome, Bologna and Verona have added a very
important cultural component to the whole operation," Gaia adds.

In the past year Index has replaced agents in Italy, Portugal, England, Mexico and Chile
and has agents in fifty countries. It represents dozens of domestic collections and has
650,000 images available online at
. 75,000 of these images are
Royalty Free.

STEP Advertising Design Competition

STEP inside design magazine, part of Dynamic Graphics Group, has announced the first
annual STEP Advertising Design Competition with a deadline of May 1, 2004. The
competition is co-sponsored by PictureQuest.

All agencies, no matter what size, are asked to enter their best campaigns produced
during 2003 in a competition that will be judged in categories (fashion, pharmaceutical,
automotive, etc.), not by medium. One of the main criteria that judges will be looking
at is the use of imagery in all its forms.

The judges include Brian Collins, Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy Brand
Integration Group, Ty Montague, Co-Creative Direct at Weiden+Kennedy, and John Rea,
Creative Director Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners.

"We are thrilled to be giving all agency creatives an opportunity to show off their best
work without being hindered by medium. The competition will bring attention to not only
the integration of great copy and design, but the innovative use of photography and
illustration," said Emily Potts, Editor of STEP inside design. "Our magazine is about
great design and we believe that the agency community's design talents deserve to be
showcased as part of our editorial mission. We want to draw attention to great work no
matter the medium - just the best campaign."

Copyright © 2004 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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