Keedup: Keywording, All Grown Up

Posted on 2/19/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

"You should be thinking of the new world, not the third world, to keyword your images," asserts the home page of the newly independent New Zealand image-keywording company Keedup. Previously a division of downunder celebrity-photo agency More Images, Keedup Ltd. is now a separate business entity.

In the image-licensing business since 1994, More Images launched Keedup in 2005. The keywording service was borne out of frustration with the quality of keywords supplied to More Images, according to its founder Kevin Townsend. Focusing on the familiar niche of celebrity and news imagery, Keedup grew quicker than anticipated.

"We've obviously struck a chord with the image-selling community; today keywording easily eclipses our syndication sales," said Townsend, commenting on the decision to spin off Keedup as an entirely separate business from its parent. He adds that the separation has also enabled the labor-intensive keywording business to make more appropriate financing arrangements.

Keedup exits a two-year period of aggressive growth with a staff of 25, working around-the-clock shifts seven days a week. In addition to keywording, it offers international image-distribution services via a Montreal, Canada-based server. And it has bigger plans.

As the number of creative images skyrockets, the company is looking to take a larger piece of the global keywording pie by expanding out of its editorial niche. Townsend said many stock companies have already sought out Keedup, because of its attractive cost-to-quality ratio.

"With [New Zealand's] low wages and high education standards, we are delivering keywording at the standard of U.S. and U.K. companies, but at a greatly reduced price... similar to those offered by companies in third-world countries such as India," he explained. This is not surprising; the Western film and television industries have taken advantage of the continent for decades, with results that range from television's "Xena" to "The Lord or the Rings" trilogy.

In partnership with technology companies Imagetext and Premedia, Keedup has developed its own image-processing software and technology-driven keywording processes. Its service can be customized to meet any standard, including those of Getty Images, Corbis, Image Source, Aurora and Alamy. Its employees are college-educated professionals with image-licensing experience. All are also native English speakers, an important factor to a language-driven business.

Another benefit to clients in Europe and the Americas is Keedup's geographic location. The time difference allows for overnight turnaround on time-sensitive projects.

In addition to expanding its keywording operation, Keedup plans to introduce a range of new services targeted at stock-licensing companies. Already in the works is an image-research service. Townsend thinks that handling it in-house is a particularly big problem for small and medium-size image libraries. Keedup provides the service to its keywording clients and sees it as a growth market.

Copyright © 2008 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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