Random Thoughts 121

Posted on 6/29/2006 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



June 29, 2006

Heimsch Wins CEPIC Contest

At CEPIC we conducted a survey to determine which company attendees thought might be the fourth largest in the industry after Getty, Corbis and JupiterImages. The names of everyone who answered the question were entered into a drawing for a prize of 200 Euros. The winner is:

Anja Heimsch


She will be receiving her prize shortly.

The question was as follows: "Who do you think is number 4 in terms of gross revenue earned from the marketing of still photography and illustration?" (After Getty, Corbis and JupiterImages) The top three received the following percentages of the total responses.







The other 24% was divided between four other companies.

Fortunately, because amana is a public company, we have some information about their sales. In 2005 the company's gross revenue was approximately $78,750,000. However, over $54 million of that was from advertising production assignments. We asked specifically about the sales of stock photography and illustration and that amount only totaled about 30% of amana's gross revenue or $24,216,000.

Thus, if the CEPIC attendees are correct in their assessments Alamy and Masterfile probably have quite a bit lower stock photo revenue than amana.

It is also interesting that amana has about $91 million in capital and a staff of approximately 476 people.

Upheaval At Superstock

Thomas V. Butta, President and CEO of Superstock and Vice-Chairman and President of a21 has been terminated by the a21 board and board member Phillip N. Garfinkle has been appointed as interim President and Chief Operating Office in his place. This comes on the heals of the departure of Haim Ariav on May 25th. Ariav was president and chief creative officer of SuperStock.

Industry veteran Ellen Boughn, SuperStock's Vice President, Content Strategy, has assumed Mr Ariav's duties. She joined the Company in March 2006. (See Story 848)

To Be Or Not To Be - A Getty Image Partner

As Getty signs on more and more image partners the whole idea is becoming less and less appealing for many. Several partners indicate that their return-per-image is dropping which is easy to understand as their images get pushed deeper and deeper in the search return order.

As might be expected Getty favors its wholly owned images and its owned brands. The Image Partner brand get many fewer images shown early in any search results. In addition, adding new Partners tends to push all the existing Image Partners lower in the search return results if not for the first image shown, certainly for all additional images shown. Nearly all the Image Partner brands have discovered that after they get one image shown a second image will not be shown until after all the other Partners have had at least one image shown. The more image Partners the deeper their images go in the pile. (See story 810 which provides details of how frequently each brand's images appeared as of early March.)

In one sense this seems a fair approach, but there are indications that there are other factors motivating Getty to take on so many new partners. One thing that greatly concerns Getty is keeping new production companies away from Corbis and Jupiter. It is my understanding that if Getty agrees to accept a new RF Partner that company must agree not to distribute images through Corbis or Jupiter.

Thus, the Partner is faced with giving up potential revenue from the 2nd and 3rd best sellers in the industry in order to be represented by number one. But, if number one places the brand's so low in the search order that it makes few sales relative to the average return of all images on the Getty site the Partner may lose more by being with Getty than by being represented by the other two.

The answer to this conundrum is almost impossible to know. If the images don't sell Getty will say it was due to the quality of the images, not the position in the search order. One solution for the Image Partner would be to negotiate a minimum annual return per image relative to Getty's average which can be deduced from the numbers Getty provides publicly. If this minimum is not met then the Partner may put the same images with either Jupiter or Corbis in order to try to maximize revenue.

While this might be an equitable solution don't bet that Getty will agree to it.

JupiterImages Upgrades Site

Earlier this month JupiterImages upgraded its site. The custom search option makes it easier for customers to find images with and without people and by gender, age and ethnicity. It also incorporates the subjects' emotions (whether they're angry, content, frustrate, happy, laughing, sad, serious or worried), whether the image is shot indoors or outdoors and whether the subject is looking at the camera or away. According to the Jupiter sales team the looking at or away from the camera is a very common request from clients.

Customers can also search for images that are 50MB or higher, images that are also on a CD, images that are model released and images that are without nudity.

The site has images from 29 RM brands, 31 RF brands and links to 8 different Subscription offerings.

Unauthorized Use Dilemma

Currently there are at least two companies - PicScout (www.picscout.com) and Idee Espion Search (www.ideeinc.com) - that do a very good job of locating images that have been used on the web and to a certain degree images that are used in print.

This is great news for photographers and stock agencies that want to find unauthorized use of their images so they can pursue collecting for such uses. However, there is a major problem. All PicScout and Idee can do is find a particular image and report back to the image creator that the image has been used. It is then up to the creator to determine if the use was licensed appropriately, or if it was unauthorized.

If the image has never been licensed by anyone then clearly there is no problem. But, if the image creator, or the agency supplying the image, makes that image available through a number of different portals, as is the case with most images these days, then the creator has to check with each portal to see if any issued a license for the usage.

Add to this that many portals refuse to supply the creator with the name of the actual customer who has licensed any given image. The creator could send a notice to the customer who has used their image asking the customer to prove that they paid for the usage, but if the customer has paid for a legitimate license, and then is required to do more research to prove it to the image owner that customer is probably not going to be very happy with the photographer or the portal.

In this case the industry has a solution to a major problem, but many creators can't take advantage of it because they can't determine the names of those who might have legally licensed the image.

Laufenberg Joins Getty Images

Holger Laufenberg recently Vice President Creative at WireImage has joined Getty Images as Director of Product Development, Emerging Markets. Laufenberg will drive development of both image collections and image-related products and services that will enable Getty Images to be highly responsive to across all customer segments within the emerging markets.

Laufenberg has been in the industry of over 14 years and has served as Associate Publisher and Director of Marketing for New York Gold & Direct Stock publishing. At WireImage he helped build WireImageSTOCK the company's first digital library of rights-managed stock photos.


When asked why he purchased iStockphoto Getty CEO Jonathan Klein recently told Wired Magazine, "If someone is going to cannibalize your businesses, better it be one of your own businesses."

Copyright © 2006 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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