Random Thoughts 108

Posted on 9/12/2005 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)


September 12, 2005

Adobe Adds Four New Collections

Adobe Stock Photos has added four new Jupitermedia RF collections to its site that can be accessed through Adobe Bridge. The collections are Creatas Images, Goodshoot, IT Stock Free and Thinkstock Images.

This brings the total number of images on the site to 355,000. At launch Adobe Stock Photos had approximately 230,000 from five brands so these new collections add a significant number of new images. The 125,000 image addition may not be entirely attributable to the Jupitermedia brands as the other four original brands may have added some new images in the last four months. However, it does seem that Getty's dominance of Adobe Stock Photos when it was initially launched (with Photodisc and Digital Vision) has now been diminished to a great extent.

Since initially Comstock (a Jupitermedia brand) was part of the offering it was probably unnecessary for Adobe to do much in the way of adjusting the initial Jupitermedia contract in order to add these images. It also seems likely that Brand X, now a Jupitermedia property, will be added in the near future.

So far no image provider that wasn't connected to the original five suppliers has been added to Adobe Stock Photos. It is still not clear that any company not owned by one of the four (Getty, Corbis, Jupitermedia or amana) will be accepted on this site. There have been rumors that Adobe would add smaller independent companies and announce the addition of some new brands before the PACA International Conference next month. However, this announcement may be the fulfillment of the "new brand" part of the prediction, if not the "smaller independent company" part.

It appears that Adobe has some very stringent contracting issues that take a very long time to work through with new suppliers. Thus, it may be a long time before we see any smaller suppliers, independent of the major brands, added to the site.

One of the many benefits of using Adobe Stock Photos is that customers can evaluate an image before licensing it by downloading an un-watermarked, low-resolution version into their favorite Adobe Creative Suite 2 software application. Over one million low-resolution comp images have been viewed from Adobe Stock Photos in the first 90 days of operation.

"Adobe Stock Photos provides a single interface to a wealth of stock photos, which allows us to focus on the conceptual aspect of projects instead of searching for images for hours on end," says Owen Starr, creative director and partner of twocreate design, a design firm specializing in corporate identity systems, Web sites and packaging. "Not only does twocreate design benefit, as we easily save four to six hours per week by using Adobe Stock Photos, but so do our clients, as the ultimate outcome is our ability to deliver stronger creative results."

Web Use of RM Images

On one of its recent earnings calls Getty said that 5 to 7 percent of its RM revenue comes from licenses for web use and this statistic has not varied over recent quarters. In the last four quarters this would probably represent between $15 and $20 million. The average license fee for an editorial use of an image from the Stone brand used on a secondary page for one year is $210. The average for an advertising use would be $510. If I estimate the overall average fee at about $300 that would mean that 66,666 of the images licensed would be for web use.

Obviously, there is a wide range here and the average price could be much closer to $500 if most of the images are used for advertising purposed or $200 if they are used primarily for editorial purposes. Because the prices in almost all cases are below the average for all images used, and in many cases significantly lower, it is highly likely that the act7aon number of Getty's RM images licensed for web use is at least 10% of total images used and maybe a lot higher.

Also, this doesn't take into account the number of RF images used on the web because Getty has no way of tracking this as customers are not required to report how they use RF images. One would expect customers to use more RF than RM images for web use purposes

To me this number as a percentage of total images used is surprisingly high. It bears watching closely for several reasons. (1) As the number of images used for web purposes increases overall average prices for image used is likely to decrease since most of these license fees are below the average. (2) The likelihood of unauthorized use is probably greater when images are being used on the web than if they are used in print. (3) As the trend toward web use increases the number of images used in print is likely to decrease.

UpperCut Starting Promotion

The UpperCut web site that was launched in July with about 13,000 images and is now starting to aggressively promote the brand. National ads have just appeared in Communication Arts, Creativity and Print and will be in each issue of these publications over the next six to eight months. This month the company will also send out 43,000 mailers and a general catalog with 64 full-page pictures. They also have a 47 member U.S. sales staff that will be making personal visits to customers across the country.

In addition several "photographer catalogs" will follow, each highlighting the work of two UpperCut photographers. The first to be released in October will feature images by Sean Kennedy Santos and David Maisel.

The company expects to have about 20,000 images online by the end of the year. It also offers a minimal amount of rights protection with each image it licenses guaranteeing that for the base price it will not license the same image for a competing use in the same industry, in the same geographic location, in the same medium, during the same time frame.

Bahar Gidwani Analyses Getty's Subscription Offering

    On his blog (www.dimdump.com) Bahar Gidwani of Index Stock analyzes the subscription offerings of Getty and Jupiterimages and compares it with Index Stock's offering. While the report is obviously self-serving to his company he makes a lot of very valid points that should be considered.
By Bahar Gidwani

The 800 pound gorilla finally decided to put on clothes, and join the party! Getty Images seems to have finally launched a subscription product.

The launch is a strange one. Getty doesn't seem to have put the info out front on its site. Instead, the details of the of the product are hidden down a layer, with bits and pieces sticking out here and there. I guess they plan to try things out quietly for a few weeks and then make a big noise about it.

Of course, folks like us at Index Stock, who have been in the subscription area since 2000 (with our WebSpice product) and who have two pretty successful royalty free subscription products (Index Open for high end users and Photos To Go Unlimited for small businesses, Web designers and road warriors), have been anxious to learn what Getty was up to. We worried that their new product would undercut the market we are part of, or would be overwhelmingly wonderful in some new and exciting way.

We were pleased to see that the new Getty subscription product is weak. The table below summarizes what we could fined out about it from looking at the Getty site. As you can see, on almost every point, both our high end and lower end products are superior in value, image breadth, and (in my humble opinion) image quality.


Getty Print Resolution

Open Index

Getty Lo-Resolution

Photos To Go

Number Images





Resolution Available





1 month price





6 month price





12 month price






DV & Photodisc Green & Blue

Over 85

DV & Photodisc Green & Blue

Over 85

Downloads per day





Discount to upgrade

10% off list

None, Users Get HiResolution

10% off list

None, Users Get HiResolution

Refund Policy

48 hours

10 days

48 hours

10 days

After I prepared the above chart, I learned that Getty's sub has yet another hole in it. I'm told that the right to use images from the sub ends, if the subscription ends! That means that tons of Getty sub users could be hammered for infringement, if they keep using a subscription image they thought was royalty-free, after the end of their sub!

I haven't written anything about the Jupiter sub, because there isn't much to say. It is a great product that pushes the envelope further for the subscription area. Their move was the right, natural, and needed next step, for their business model. As such, it represents a direct challenge to Getty's existing business (and to the livelihood of any stock agent that has not yet understood that it MUST have a subscription product to survive, longer term!)

Our subscription continues to differ from Jupiter's on a few fronts:

1. Even though we have fewer images, we have more variety of styles. That is because we have more individual contributors to our sub, as we continue to exploit the advantage of NOT owning images.

2. Our subscription is cheaper and our search engine is faster and more powerful.

3. We automatically link our subscription to our huge one-off library of images. Jupiter can't yet match our 900,000 one-off licensing image library--with its huge array of 700,000 RM images.

I expect Getty's move to encourage more traditional agencies to release a subscription. I expect Jupiter's move to discourage others from even trying to catch up. As usual, a middle-sized agency like mine will keep trying to be a nimble, responsive, innovative, and tenacious "mouse." We like seeing the "cats" and "dogs" fight with each other--it gives us a chance to look for scraps! The subscription model and the new Adobe Stock Photo Service will both rip holes in the walls Getty has built around our industry. We plan to keep scrambling through those holes, and keep finding bits of bread and cheese to bring home to feed our artists.

Copyright © 2005 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 www.selling-stock.com, 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: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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