Random Thoughts 9

Posted on 6/16/1999 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



June 16, 1999

Moffly Leaves FPG

David Moffly has left FPG and is no longer its Chief Operating Officer. The

photographers have been told that Andrew Nugee, President of VCG, will oversee FPG

until a new CEO is found. However, for the rest of the week he will be doing the

overseeing from London.

Rumors are that some new acquisitions are in the works and are likely to be announced

in the next few weeks. According to sources Moffly made an offer to buy FPG from

VCG and the offer was rejected. At that point he was told that his services were no

longer needed, or he resigned -- or maybe both.

Speculation has it that Moffly was either unhappy with how FPG would fit into the

new expanded organization, or he may not have been fully aware of all the

negotiations that are in the works. Moffly was unavailable for comment.

Corbis Acquires Sygma

PARIS, France (June 15, 1999), Corbis has announced its acquisition of Sygma, the world's largest news

photography agency. This acquisition marks the cornerstone of Corbisí aggressive

plans to create a new digital platform for offering real-time news and celebrity

imagery to publishers and consumers over the Internet. The acquisition extends the size of

Corbis' image collection to more than 65 million images, with more than 2.1 million images online.

Under the terms of the agreement, Corbis will own and have access to the entire

Sygma collection of more than 40 million images for an undisclosed amount. Sygma

will operate as a division of Corbis under the name Corbis Sygma, and will maintain

its offices in Paris, New York City, and London. Jean-Marc Smadja, Eliane Laffont,

and Helen Finney will continue to oversee Corbis Sygma operations as general

managers of the Paris, New York, and London offices, respectively.

Steve Davis, president of Corbis said, "With our acquisition of Sygma, Corbis has

amassed a collection of true breadth and depth, adding real-time news imagery to

our celebrity, contemporary, historical, and fine art imagery. We are excited to be

on the cutting edge of the industry, using the Internet to bring our many different

customers the most current and newsworthy photography with ease and convenience."

In the coming months, Corbis will extend this foray into photojournalism by

announcing a series of partnerships with leading news media and technology

companies, designed to create the best platform for producing and distributing

digital photojournalism in the future.

"The Internet is a perfect platform for selling and distributing current news

content to the commercial publishing market," said Jean-Marc Smadja, general

manager, Corbis Sygma Paris. "By combining Sygma's extraordinary collection with

Corbis' leadership in digital technologies, we will become the leading force in the

contemporary news marketplace."

Founded in 1973, Sygma is the largest news photography agency, with more than 40

million images taken by 200 of the world's leading photojournalists. The agency is

best known for its in-depth news coverage and high-profile celebrity event

photography. Its collection is also one of the best archives of news photography

dating from the 1970s to present, and contains historical photography from the

early 1800s. Sygma has more than 200 employees in New York, Paris, and London.

Corbis also has a license agreement with Sipa to handle sales of the Corbis archive

in France. This agreement runs to the end of 1999. At that point Sygma will

take over sales of Corbis Images in France. It is unclear at this time whether

there will be any continuing relationship with Sipa.

ASMP Stock Photo Catalog

ASMP has issued a press release announcing that ASMP members will have the

opportunity to market their stock photography in "The ASMP Stock Photography

Catalog" scheduled for distribution in January 2001.

The catalog is being produced by Serbin Communications of Santa Barbara, CA in

cooperation with ASMP and will be distributed to 32,000 major design

firms, ad agencies, book and periodical publishers, and numerous other buyers of

photography within the USA and overseas. The catalog will be divided into general

categories such as business, sports, nature and people.

All ASMP and MPCA members will be invited to participate and they can choose to

deal with clients direct or authorize licensing through Media Image Resource

Alliance, MIRA.

According to Glen Serbin, president of Serbin Communications, "We are excited to be

involved with the ASMP on this project. The ASMP Stock Photography Catalog gives

the photographer the ability to sell their work directly, or to use the MIRA

licensing service operated by Copyright Clearance Center to complete all


"The combination of the ASMP Stock Photography Catalog and the MIRA Internet gives

the ASMP photographer complete control of all sales, worldwide exposure and the

best stock royalty arrangement in the industry," said Serbin.

Under the contract Serbin Communications will pay royalties to ASMP.

TSI Merges Collections

Tony Stone Images and PhotoDisc have taken one more step in trying to keep photo

buyers in the Getty Images family. Now any art director who does a search on one

of these sites is told that there are more images available on the subject on the

other site.

Right after the first box of twelve thumbnails on the TSI site you get a message

that says, "Want to search through more images? Try PhotoDisc, another Getty

Images company." Click on PhotoDisc and you are headed to their site.

For Tony Stone photographers it will be interesting to see if this strategy

eventually drives the clients more toward PhotoDisc. There are probably no art

directors using TSI that don't also know about PhotoDisc, but now whenever they

search on TSI they are reminded that they could get images cheaper on PhotoDisc.

Going the other direction, if the AD absolutely can't find what he or she wants on

PhotoDisc then it is beneficial to be directed to TSI rather than some other Rights

Protected agency. One question that only time will tell is how quickly buyers will

drop off of one site and go searching on the other.

Financial Analysis Looks At Getty

In early June Keith E. Benjamin, CFA of Bankboston Robertson Stephens gave

his clients the following analysis of Getty Images.

"Getty has been making the transition from delivering its vast library of

images from off-line to online delivery. Its core business has been to provide

licensed photography and other images to businesses. With the recent acquisition

of Art.com, it expands its Web product offerings for consumers. The company has

appeared in limbo, between a cash-generating media business model and an emerging

Web opportunity. We are encouraged that the company seems to be ready to invest in

faster growth and look for accelerated marketing spending and more deals to provide

catalysts for the stock."

California Lawyer

Richard A. Semon, formerly Senior Counsel for Corbis and General Counsel for

Westlight has joined the Santa Monica, CA firm of Spataro & Associates. The firms

practice will emphasize Visual and Electronic Arts, Copyright, Internet Law,

Trademark and other intellectual property matters.

While at Westlight, Semon had an enviable record of successes in collecting from

copyright infringers.

Copyright © 1999 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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