New Alliances

Posted on 11/13/1996 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)


New Alliances

November 13, 1996

West Stock, a Seattle stock photo agency, has announced that they are now
supplying images to Digital Stock Corporation of Solana Beach, CA, a leading
publisher of high quality, royalty-free CD-ROM discs. The first disc produced
from this relationship has 100 images, is called Faces of the World, and is now

available through Digital Stock's distribution channels.

Faces of the World has 100 high-resolution images of everyday people from
diverse cultures, including business, professionals, seniors, teens, and
children and sells for $249.00. It is expected that West Stock will participate
on many of the Digital Stock products in the coming years.

Digital Stock has been rapidly expanding its collection by the release of
thirty-six new titles so far in 1996. It plans to release more than fifty new
discs in the coming year incorporating images from West Stock and other sources.

West Stock specializes in high-quality, model-released images of people doing
everyday activities. These images target the needs of customers developing
product advertising. Because this type of photography dates rather quickly with
the constant change of styles, West Stock works closely with photographers
attuned to such changes to continually upgrade its collection. These
photographers must understand fashion, beauty, and style, as well as good
photography technique.

"We are very enthusiastic that this relationship joins West Stock's
high-quality images with Digital Stock's high-quality production and
distribution processes. The discs produced from this relationship are likely to
set the standards in the industry for years to come," said Mark Karras, chairman
of West Stock.

West Stock's Initial Entry in the Clip Disc Market

West Stock was the exclusive image provider for PhotoDisc when they started
producing royalty-free discs in 1993, and has supplied images for probably close
to forty PhotoDisc products (they refuse to release the exact number). The last
disc on which they participated was released early in 1996.

In early 1996 PhotoDisc started working directly with photographers. PhotoDisc
had determined that it was more important to own the content outright than to do
collaborative arrangements with stock agencies.

It has been West Stock's philosophy not to put "prime" catalog images that
might be licensed for various exclusive uses on the clip photo discs. West
Stock tries to supply a different type of subject matter on the discs than they
put in their print catalogs because they believe the desk top publishing market
needs a different kind of image. These images have sometimes been referred to
as "seconds", but that may be an inaccurate representation of the work.

West Stock keeps the very best for their catalogs and licenses rights to those
images in the traditional manner. Some of their photographers indicate that 95%
of their sales with West Stock are from the print catalog images.
One photographer indicates that he is earning in the range of $280 per year,
per image from those on the discs.

There are indications that some of the photographers who have lots of images on
the discs are earning in excess of $40,000 per year from royalties on the clip

PhotoDisc Results

There are also indications that sales on PhotoDisc's on-line site are in the
range of $100,000 a week (over $5 million of their estimated $25 million a year
gross sales). PhotoDisc has about 32,000 images on-line and users can license
these images individually for fees that range from $19.95 to $49.95 for
advertising and brochure use and up to $179.95 for book covers and products for
resale where more than 100,000 copies will be sold.

We suspect that given the way their site is designed, most of the $100,000 per
week is from clients who are purchasing discs rather than purchasing rights to a
specific image, but we have no way of determining actual sales.

Copyright © 1996 Jim Pickerell. 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

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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