GumGum Expands Celeb Offering, Reports Steady Growth

Posted on 1/23/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Santa Monica-based GumGum, one of a handful of companies experimenting with use-based licensing of images online, has expanded its entertainment and celebrity offering with paparazzi imagery by Bauer-Griffin. GumGum co-founder and chief executive officer Ophir Tanz also told Selling Stock that the licensing platform “is experiencing tremendous growth” overall.

Bauer-Griffin is a California agency that prides itself on having compiled “an anthology of the habits and mores of a small class of rich people the world over.” The agency made the mainstream press in December, when its Hawaii-based photographer snapped then President-elect Barack Obama wearing swimming trunks, as well as several images of the Obama family. Though the resulting traffic proved a bit much for the Bauer-Griffin Web site to handle, the exclusive images proved both a financial and public relations boon of impressive proportions.

In addition to licensing images to the media, Bauer-Griffin publishes its own celebrity photo-blog. Agency co-founder and chief executive officer Frank Griffin stresses that intellectual property owners must position themselves for the digital future. “GumGum has designed a product that thoroughly tends to the needs of IP holders and online publishers,” Griffin said.

Particularly noteworthy for smaller image buyers, GumGum offers publishers two new licensing options: pay-per-use and ad-supported. Tied to actual views received by a particular image, the pay-per-use model is based on cost-per-thousand impressions and allows bloggers and smaller publications to license images at a fraction of their traditional cost, with no upfront investment. The second model generates revenue by displaying advertising alongside images, with revenues split among GumGum, image owner and the publisher.

GumGum’s platform launched at roughly the same time as PicApp, a similar product spun off by image-tracking company PicScout. Some stock-industry insiders have predicted that PicApp would emerge victorious in the battle for market share, but this is not at all certain. Though PicApp has the advantage of long-standing industry relationships, GumGum offers a similar breadth of content, often from the same suppliers, such as Splash News, Corbis and Newscom. GumGum’s publisher options are also broader: PicApp focuses on ad-supported licensing and does not, for the moment, share advertising revenues with its publisher clients.

Tanz further illuminates what GumGum sees as competitive advantages: “We do not host or serve content. Our intention is to support a frictionless licensing process, for example, by letting publishers and agencies maintain a direct relationship, and by not putting the content in an invasive widget.”

Instead, the platform connects image owners with buyers and offers tracking, analytics and transactional support. After a one-time code install, site owners can maintain existing image workflow: get an image from a participating agency, crop or resize it, use it in a layout without altering the site’s look and feel—and generate reports about usage and money made or spent by using the GumGum admin panel.

Tanz said that the images tracked and ad-impressions served have gone by up 30% to 100% each month over the past six months. GumGum currently tracks over 3 billion image-views per month and supports 365,000 licenses receiving over 250 million license-views per month. Over 650 publishers have licensed content through GumGum. “Both licensing models are performing very well, sometimes in tandem with each other,” Tanz adds.

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


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