Ethnic-Image Leader Re-Blends

Posted on 10/24/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Blend Images, the Las Vegas-based stock agency with an exclusive specialization in multi-ethnic imagery, has launched an image-partner program to aggregate additional content for its Web site.

Robert Henson, Blend's director of channel relations and sales, says this is the natural next step after a recent portal revamp. "We recently launched an updated site with enhanced e-commerce, gallery, lightboxes and search capabilities," he explains. "Since Blend is primarily a content aggregator...[this move] fits into our overall stragegy."

Henson points out that Blend is the first to market images with an exclusive focus on multiethnic content. The image-partner program relies on the agency's core competency and will enable Blend to serve its existing clients in a more meaningful way.

Currently, the Blend collection is at 50,000 images. Though Henson is not at liberty to disclose specifics, he says agreements with a number of international agencies are in place and will more than double the size of the existing library in the short term.

Blend considers the ethnic-image market to be underserved. "It's our view that there exists a large appetite for the type of imagery Blend creates, across all segments, and that this appetite is still growing," says Henson. He maintains that Blend is the only online destination for this type of imagery; maintaining the integrity of the offering is key to its success.

According to its director of sales, Blend's unique position in the stock-image market is due in no small part to being a photographer-owned agency, "managed by the most successful stock photographers in the business."

The agency shares its expertise with its contributor base. Blend maintains a creative research department and offers its photographers insight and production tips. It also hosts two multiday events each year, gathering its photographers to exchange information and ideas. "No other agency does this, to my knowledge," adds Henson. "This sense of community governs and guides us."

Though Blend is expanding its own portal, Henson says the agency values its existing sales partners and will continue to provide them with royalty-free and rights-managed images, the latter exclusively represented by Getty. In addition, Blend is developing rights-managed and HD motion collections that it will sell both directly and through third-party distributors. For the moment, however, the focus is on expanding the breadth and relevance of Blend's online portal through the image-partner program.

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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