PNI and Cinebase to Merge

Posted on 10/12/1999 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Picture Network International, Ltd. (PNI), a Kodak Company, and Cinebase

Software Inc. have signed a letter of intent to merge and create a new

company which will be a leading provider of media asset management services.

Still photographers will be interested in this merger because PNI is also in

the business of licensing rights to still images and Cinebase will add a

video and film content aspect to these licensing services.

PNI is parent of PictureQuest which has an on-line database of

more than 400,000 images from 65 stock agencies and stock photo suppliers.

Cinebase is actively investigating the potential of acquiring stock footage

for licensing to leverage their technology.

PNI also provides a media hosting services through MediaQuest which enables

companies to manage their own digital assets. PNI customers for this service

include Discovery Communications, Intel, McDonalds, Bechtel, Paramount Motion

Pictures and others.

Cinebase is a leading provider of digital asset management of video and film

content to the entertainment, government, corporate and advertising markets.

Cinebase -- with such clients as Nike, McDonald's, Young & Rubicam, E!

Entertainment, Warner Bros., the National Library of Medicine, the National

Imaging and Mapping Agency, and over 30 others -- have established themselves

as the leader in media management during the creation, production and

approval processes.

While exact figures are not available it is believed that the MediaQuest side

of PNI's business represents a much larger share than the PictureQuest

licensing side. Clearly, the major focus of the new company will be in

providing hosting services, not in licensing rights. Nevertheless, the

licensing side of the business should benefit from some of the synergies with

hosting clients.

Robert Griffin, present CEO of PNI will be the new president and CEO or the

combined company. He said, "Our combined solution will cover the entire

media value chain, from collaborative creation through consumption. There is

simply no vendor with more customers or a more complete solution than our

newly combined entities."

Kodak will remain a significant shareholder in the combined entity. "We

expect to actively participate with the new company in developing and

marketing digital media management solutions for a variety of new markets,"

said Joerg Agin, President of Entertainment Imaging, the Eastman Kodak

Company division to which PNI reports. "The new entity will remain a Kodak

strategic partner and we believe that its success will prove valuable to

Kodak as the use of digital media becomes even more widespread."

PNI and Cinebase characterized the transaction as a "merger of equals" and

promised details on management, headquarters, naming, and other information

at a later date. PNI moved its offices to a new location in Fairfax,

Virginia at the beginning of October.

What Does It Mean For Still Photographers?

Clearly, the primary focus of this company will be in providing hosting and

asset management services for Fortune 1000 companies. However, the

PictureQuest arm of the company which is one the principle channels to

internet customers for small and medium sized stock photo suppliers is also

likely to be strengthened.

The merger should benefit PNI's stock photo suppliers by providing increased

resources for promotion and marketing and a higher level of visibility

among the business customer base.

Recent acquisitions and consolidations by Getty Images and other large

players have caused many photographers to believe that their opportunities to

participate in the stock photo market of the future were becoming severely


The enlargement and strengthening of the PNI business model gives new hope to

small stock agencies and individual photographers. It enables small

suppliers to participate on a major online database that is well promoted

and managed and still maintain many of the distinctives

of their unique services. Photographers who have found that they can't get

Getty, Corbis or the other majors to show their best work now have 65 small

to medium size agencies to go to in order to get their images in a

competitive on-line database.

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 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, 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:  


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