age fotostock to Launch Low-Budget Brand

Posted on 10/11/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The Barcelona-based age fotostock announced plans to launch a new brand, Web site and business model, easyFotostock. The 35-year-old agency is calling it a "low budget, royalty-free" offering.

Describing this as a necessary step to ensure long-term survival and profitability, age fotostock says the easyFotostock business model is its answer to the effects of digital photography on the stock-image market. The underlying sentiment is not new. Digital cameras have created economies of scale, but they are also responsible for lowering the barrier to entry into the professional photography market, creating the overabundance of images available for sale and decreasing image pricing.

According to age fotosock, these conditions have led to the emergence of a new buyer segment seeking cheaper images, faster research and a more convenient buying process. Echoing recent statements by Getty Images’ CEO Jonathan Klein, age fotostock contends that these new buyers seek images of “good enough” quality and do not require either the control or sophistication offered by traditional licensing models.

Exact financial details will remain under wraps until easyFotostock launches at the end of the year, but the new brand promises “very attractive” pricing that is lower than premium royalty-free and rights-managed stock. Both resolution-based and subscription prices are in plans.

Complete with a new Web site that is currently in beta, easyFotostock will build on age fotostock’s established e-commerce platform. In addition to its own sales and marketing, age fotostock will also make the new easyFotostock module available for integration into the Web sites of over 120 third-party distributors that currently use its THP technology.

Though easyFotostock is positioned as a low-budget brand, age fotostock says it is not a mirco-payment scheme. There will be no community or user-generated features; easyFotostock will be marketed as an extension of the agency’s core licensing business.

On the other hand, there are plans to use the new brand as an outlet for the surplus production that age fotostock receives from contributing photographers. Previously, such surplus was returned to image owners because of the agency’s inability to professionally edit all contributions. The new brand will expand the overall scope of images offered by age fotostock, while providing contributors with an additional sales channel.

easyFotostock may have a number of unique attributes, but it is difficult to distinguish from a number of other recent midstock launches. All of the large agencies have diversified into the medium price range: Corbis launched SnapVillage; Getty Images followed with Valueline; and a21 wasn’t far behind with MediaMagnet. Alan Meckler is not a big fan of the midstock strategy, making Jupitermedia the only large image agency that has not jumped on the midstock bandwagon.

Alamy may not have launched a separate brand, but it has reacted to changing market conditions with a yet-undefined Novel Use Scheme. There are also several midstock-only businesses. For example, neither the California-based LuckyOliver nor New York’s Zymmetrical are backed by traditional agencies.

Last summer, the microstock agency count was well above 30. The medium price range seems to be headed in the same direction.

Copyright © 2007 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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


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