Random Thoughts 12

Posted on 10/15/1999 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



October 15, 1999

New CEO At Liaison

Richard Ellis, former Reuters photographer and one of the founders of

Newsmakers has been named CEO at Liaison effective October 4th. George

DeKeerle is Liaison's new Managing Editor. Ellis and DeKeerle were responsible

for the development of the web-based Newsmakers agency concept.

Discussions are underway for Getty to acquire Newsmakers, but no final

agreement has been announced.

Liaison photographers should consider the possibility that Getty may redesign

the Liaison operation along the lines of the Newsmakers model. At Newsmakers

Ellis had been acquiring an increasing amount of event coverage on a full

buyout basis at an assignment rate of $150 plus expenses per shoot. Several in

the industry have reported that Ellis has no trouble finding photographers

willing to work for this rate.

The buyout philosophy fits well with Jonathan Klein's desire to wholly own more

content, and the philosophy of Steve Powell who is in charge of Getty's

editorial division.

Gamma Purchased

French publisher Hachette-Filipacchi has purchased 75% of Gamma. Some believe

this will lead to a severing of the long-standing relationship between Gamma

and Liaison and the establishment of a separate American operation by Gamma.

Hachette capital could be just what Gamma, which has been struggling in recent

years, needs to survive in the changing stock photo market.

Digital Delivery

At a recent conference in London Mark Getty stated that in five years all of

Getty's image delivery will be digital. Jonathan Klein has been quoted in

several places saying, "We see our entire business on the Web in three years."

One TSI photographer reports that currently the percentage of digitally

fulfilled sales appears to be very small. Since last October less than 1% of

his sales have been digitally fulfilled Many sales are researched and

contracted for on-line, but clients still request delivery of film in the

traditional way. Of course, the sales of PhotoDisc and EyeWire are 100%

digitally fulfilled.

Getty Growth

Analyst Keith Benjamin at BancBoston Robertson Stephens that Getty is

projecting sales of $227 million in 1999 and $360 million in 2000. The $360

million will include The Image Bank which will not be a part of Getty's 1999


However, if TIB's gross sales of around $70 million are added to Getty's 1999

projections the total is less than $300 million. To

reach $360 million Getty will probably need to make a number of other

acquisitions in 2000. Without additional acquisitions their growth of sales

would be have to be around 20%, and it seems highly unlikely that the growth of

the companies they currently own today will reach that level.

RF VS Traditional In Europe

Brian Yarvin has made some interesting points about the potential for growth in

RF market and on-line distribution in general outside the U.S. It may be

slower to develop than I, and others, have suggested.

"Your article in Selling Stock missed a few important points on the RF vs

traditional issue outside the U.S. On my last trip to Italy a few months ago,

and in many other non-U.S. markets, I noticed that the difference in cost

between traditional and RF stock is minimal. In Italy, a small one time use

from an agency is less than 1/5 the cost of buying a disk and comes with perks

that disks don't include.

"If a client picks up their image at the agency, they will get a chance to

discuss images and trends with the agency staff. If they are freelancers

working for any agency or publisher, the stock agency will bill their client

directly, a far better arrangement than laying out the money for a disk and

waiting to be reimbursed.

"Online presents a different set of obstacles; it costs about 400 lire a minute

to be on the web via regular modem in Italy and more than twice that for an

ISDN connection. Thus, the cost of searching for an image can easily add up to

a big chunk of a modest stock photo usage.

"Keyword searches are extra frustrating in a language you don't know either.

"If and when unlimited internet becomes a reality in Europe, people might be

more inclined to search, but the barriers of language and culture are still

there, and of course, there's no price incentive.

"It's a different ball game altogether," says Brian Yarvin.

Billing For Travel

This strategy is for assignments, not stock, but it is such a useful idea that

it needs wide dissemination.

One photographer who travels a lot has successfully adopted the a strategy of

billing for fly time separate from shoot time. He used to fly and shoot the

same day and bill a day. Now he bills fly time separately, no matter how far

he goes. Fly in the am and shoot in the pm and it's 1.5 days plus space. If

it is a fly/shoot/fly it's a double day rate against space. The photographer

says this strategy has helped during those weeks when taking pictures feels

like a very tiring connect the dots on a map board game. No Picture Editor has

ever complained, and in fact they are sympathetic and appreciate that the

photographer isn't wasting time in hotel rooms.

New McGraw Hill Rights Request

McGraw Hill has changed the rights clause in many of their contracts and

sellers need to carefully evaluate the new terms before accepting them.

    Rights Granted: For the ten (10) year period commencing April 14, 2000,

    licensor hereby grants to MH the following non-exclusive rights for inclusion

    of the Licensed Materials in the Program materials: i. the right to edit and

    use the permission material in the Program Materials and in connection with the

    Program, including use in minor revisions (concerning no more than 25%) of the


Our areas of concern include:

  • the 10 year period,

  • that they are allowed to use "Licensed Material" that was chosen for use

    in a book in a related CD or on-line "Programs" without any additional

    compensation to the rights holder, and

  • that a 24% change in the product would not be considered a revision, and

    thus no additional compensation needs to be made for this use.


    FPG photographers have recently received an announcement that VCG will launch a

    new royalty-free company called iSwoop in February 2000 with the release of a

    CD collection of 30 titles, a 252 page printed catalog and a fully

    transactional web site.

    They estimate that the royalty-free segment of the market will reach $200

    million yearly gross in the near future. They say that new buying patterns for

    low visibility usages such as small community bulletins, company newsletters

    and new media will propel this continued growth.

    They are inviting photographers already represented by the VCG companies to

    participate in an initial portfolio review. FPG requires world-wide

    exclusivity to the images they select, and their similars, but the images will

    be marketed globally for non-exclusive, unlimited use.

    Some photographers have asked if lower licensing fees won't generate lower


    FPG's answer is, "Just as top retailers are recognizing the value of adding new

    brands that cater to a lower price point, royalty-free recognizes the buying

    power of markets out-priced by traditional stock. Royalty-free marketing is

    based on volume and repeat sales. CD unit sales produce income for all of the

    images on that CD. Single image downloads from the web site will generate

    additional revenue for individual photographers. iSwoop will publish more

    titles than you are accustomed to with traditional stock, and we have the

    capability of getting these images to market at record speed. As we analyze

    the results of our on-going efforts, iSwoop will republish and redistribute the

    best selling titles. When all is said and done, return on your royalty-free

    production investment has the potential to equal rights protected returns."

    Magazine Assignment Rates

    Doing an assignment or selling stock to a new publication. The Editorial Photo

    web site www.editorialphoto.com has a list of over 100 magazines and the day

    rates they are paying. Click on the Magazine Section to see the list.

    One thing is clear. There isn't a single "editorial day rate." There are wide

    variations. Be sure to check this site before you accept an assignment or

    quote an assignment fee to a publication with whom you have never worked. You

    may be undercutting yourself if you have a fixed day rate for your services.

    If you have a different experience with a publication on the list, or one that

    is not on the list, be sure send EP an e-mail so they can integrate the

    information into their chart.

  • Copyright © 1999 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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