344 SPEEDPIX MOVES AHEAD
October 11, 2000
Speedpix has instituted a policy of no up-front charges for contributing
photographers. A fee of $50.00 per image will be deducted from sales. Only 50% of
any royalty owed will be used to pay off the photographer's outstanding obligation
ensuring that the photographer gets some income with the first sale.
Speedpix has a very simplified pricing structure. All prices listed on the site are
for a single one-time use, and a one year license for the usage. Customers who want
multiple insertions or exclusivity must contact Speedpix to determine the prices for
Mike Morrison's explanation for this pricing strategy is as follows: "If you try to
set up a small shop next door to a supermarket and your business model offers buyers
exactly what they are already getting in the supermarket in terms of quality, ease of
use, and price (albeit with a greatly reduced depth of coverage) - you would be a
little foolish to expect to gain market share from the supermarket.
"If you set up your little shop next to the supermarket, and your plan is to shout
out loud that you offer the same quality goods, with a much greater ease of use and a
much simpler - most times cheaper - pricing structure, you may have a chance of
taking sufficient market share to start rocking the boat.
"The only stock selling model which has come along in recent years and actually been
successful in taking market share from the big boys is Royalty Free. We hate royalty
free - but if you look at it from the buyers point of view you can clearly see why it
works - it offers something which is radically different - and advantageous to the
"If Speedpix is to be serious about becoming a major player in the stock game we must
do the same! The pricing structure we operate is very simple for the buyer to
purchase single time usage rights. However we still have the ability to offer both
Industry specific and complete exclusivity. We still charge extra for multiple
insertions and collateral usage (where the same image is used simultaneously in a
range of ways). Although our current top individual sale price is $600 we are often
seeing sales going over $2000 due to these factors.
"Speedpix is a quality product with a distinct advantage for the buyer. The only
thing which can potentially stop us building a highly successful photographer biased
selling machine - is the
photographers themselves. We need great photographers to believe in what we are doing
and to have the vision to give us some great work now!," Morrison concluded.
Speedpix had initially planned to only accept credit cards as payment for usages, but
before going live they learned that many major buyers have a centralized purchasing system
that does not lend itself to credit card payments on the spot. For this reason they
established customer account facilities.
Morrison estimates that approximately 75% of current sales have been paid via account
rather than direct credit card. It will be interesting to see how this figure
changes as we add more US based customers to our client base.
Speedpix has started advertising in the U.S. and currently has either half or full
page ads in every issue of Communication Arts. Ads have appeared in PDN, Photo Expo
Show guide, Photo Source book. Morrison says they will be increasing US advertising
coverage in magazines one at a time with careful analysis of results. They have
discovered in the UK that some publications produce a lot of interest whereas others
produce very little.
Speedpix also plans to do targeted direct mailings, telephone sales and direct
appointments with large buyers in targeted US cities. Because everyone is so busy
the biggest barrier to getting clients to use any new system is to get them to take
the first look. In the UK they have found that direct contact either by telephone or
by appointment is proving far more effective in actually creating new buyers than
simple advertising by whatever media.
When Getty Images decided to close down Planet Earth Pictures in the UK, there were
reports that photographers were trying to interest Speedpix in uploading a certain
segment of the images into their system.
Morrison reports, "There is a certain amount of mis-understanding here - due in part
to poor wording on the letter we sent out to photographers on this issue.
"We were approached by photographers asking us if we felt there was some way to
rescue Planet Earth.
"Having looked at the way in which this specialist library works (clearly a filing
cabinet based library where manual searches need to be made by expert staff for
obscure specific images) we made it clear that an on-line solution was not really a
good idea. We have provided support to those individuals who are hoping to set-up a
file based system at a new location in London. We also offer a facility where the
more commercial images could be marketed via an expanded wildlife section of the
"We polled PEP photographers from all over the world in an effort to see if they
would be interested in proceeding with a new file based library should it be a
possibility. We have received overwhelming support.
"In order to clarify the situation for the many photographers who are thinking,
wrongly, that we are taking over Planet Earth - we have set up a web page where
on-going information on this issue will be posted at
Speedpix will be at Photo Expo East in New York in early November at booth 566, or
you can go to
www.speedpix.co.uk for more information.
Also see the original Selling Stock Story 256.