230 RANDOM THOUGHTS 9
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
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
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."
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