Corbis, Thought Equity Motion Cross-Distribute Footage

Posted on 1/15/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Corbis and Thought Equity Motion have partnered to take advantage of each other’s strengths. The two companies will cross-distribute their footage collections, increasing Corbis’ content inventory and offering Thought Equity wider international exposure.

“[This] partnership will position both companies to compete more effectively in the fast-growing footage-licensing industry,” reads a statement released on Wed. Corbis and Thought Equity aim to provide buyers with the most comprehensive footage collection and an industry-leading content-delivery technology.

Both companies notified their footage providers of the new alliance on the same day it was announced to the trade. James Schellman, Thought Equity commercialization manager, wrote in an email forwarded to Selling Stock by one supplier: “Together, Thought Equity Motion and Corbis will now have over 400 sales and service professionals across 50 countries… drastically increas[ing] the reach of your content across the globe.” Schellman also stressed that nothing would change in how the company conducts its business with suppliers: Thought Equity would remain the single contact for all content-ingestion and financial activity.

The reasoning behind the deal is clear. The Corbis brand, greatly aided by the weight of Bill Gates’ name behind it, is recognized globally. In addition to improving the visibility of Thought Equity content, Corbis can also offer this content to pre-qualified buyers through an established sales channel.

What’s in it for Corbis? Financial arrangements were not disclosed, but there several other reasons Corbis would court the Denver company.

Video is a fast if not the fastest-growing segment of the current media landscape. In addition to broadband proliferation, the popularity of video is propelled by increasing demand for HD content and next month’s conversion to all-digital television.

The segment is also heavily dependent on technology infrastructure that can support the type of file sizes and bandwidths needed to deliver footage via e-commerce. Prior to the announcement, rumor had it that Corbis was interested the Thought Equity technology—the proprietary software and infrastructure housed in the footage company’s “digital refinery” complex in Laramie, Wyoming. Thought Equity was first to market with an HD-capable online delivery platform over three years ago and now delivers approximately 5,000 files per week at speeds it says are as much as four times faster than competing platforms. Corbis Motion can now enhance its Web site with these capabilities.

The Thought Equity inventory is another factor. Dedicated to video since its launch in 2002, Thought Equity says its exclusive collection of content is roughly twice as large as its nearest competitor’s. Thought Equity is the sole licensing agent for hundreds of sports, entertainment and broadcasting brands, including the Paramount and Sony film franchises, MGM, NBC News, HBO and National Geographic.

One interesting aspect of this alliance is audio content. Though it goes hand-in-hand with motion content, it was not mentioned. Observers will note that Thought Equity bills itself as the world leader in film, video and music, but much of the latter comes from the Jupitertunes collection. While the role of audio content in the Getty Images’ acquisition of Jupiterimages is not clear, existing Thought Equity relationships with Jupitermedia will likely be reexamined with Getty assuming ownership—especially since Getty Images has its own footage and audio offerings.

Copyright © 2009 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


  • Don Farrall Posted Jan 15, 2009
    This seems like a natural and positive move. Should be good for both parties. I have been in contact with Thought Equity in the past as I have explored venturing into video stock. My biggest complaint? Who came up with the name? "Thought Equity" as a name for a company selling stock footage, among other products, is a nightmare of a branding challenge. Alining with Corbis should help in this department. No ill intended, just an observation.

    Don Farrall

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