572 SOLUS RUMORS INCORRECT
August 5, 2003
Rumors have been floating around the industry that Solus Images has been sold, but
Ari Kopelman, President of Solus, says they are "categorically incorrect." Solus is still
owned by Kopelman, Ira Shapiro and the investment bankers.
Kopelman said, "We are talking with potential strategic partners all the time. There are
people who believe that with capital we could accelerate our development, but nothing has come
of these discussions. There are people out there who are interested in the economic space
(stock photo industry) because they see this humongous gap between number one and everyone
else. I've noticed a tendency among people in the financial community to look at the industry
and be amazed and aghast that there is such a wide gap between Getty and everyone else."
Solus has about 11,000 images available on line and is adding about 2,000 to 3,000 new images
a year. Kopelman believes they have the capacity to take in more images and that is one of
the reasons they are interested in additional investment capital.
Sales have been slow, but have started to pick up in the last couple of months with a
significant jump in the sales from the 15 foreign sub-agents. Direct sales are flat, but Veer
sales are trending up. Foreign sales were representing about 25% of gross revenue but based on
the recent reports have jumped to over one-third of total revenue. Kopelman is hopeful that
there will be a continuation of the Veer and Foreign sales trends during the major fall
Some photographers have complained to Selling Stock about slow payments from Solus. Sources
tell me that new accounting procedures are being worked on and that by shortly after Labor Day
clearer statements and sales reports will be available. It is expected that these changes
will resolve all the outstanding issues photographers have concerning payment.
Solus has produced one print catalog and is in the process of redesigning their second.
Kopelman said, "We had one designed, but the marketplace seems to want smaller and
more frequent catalogs so we are trying to figure out how to take that into account."
One of Solus' strategies for getting images online quickly for review is to deliver low
res scans to the foreign agents so they can begin selling before the high res scans have been
fully cleaned up for delivery. Solus then cleans the high res on-demand, or as they have
time. This system has worked well for many agents, but some have complained about slow
delivery once an image has been requested. According to Kopelman about half of the images in
the file have been fully cleaned for final delivery and foreign agents have those images
available at their offices.
Solus is doing a fair amount of the delivery from the U.S. to foreign users. Once an image has
been cleaned it is loaded into a secure password protected on-line directory on their site and made available
to the requesting agent. This can often be done in two to three hours from the time the request
is received, but occasionally due to time changes there can be a delay of up to 24 hours.