Random Thoughts 14

Posted on 12/7/1999 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



December 7, 1999

Sheldon Marshall Is Back

Sheldon Marshall, CEO of Visual Communications Group (VCG) until early this year,

is now President of Globalmedia Ltd. He has put together a committed group of

equity investors

who are seeking to develop new media projects focused to sell digital assets

to professional users via the Internet.

Marshall says, "We are looking at acquisitions where we can definitely add

the 'click' to established analogue content businesses."

Marshall ran VCG for 16 years and built it into one of the top three businesses

world-wide in the industry.

Gamma Sold

The French publishing house Hachette Filipacchi Medias SA has acquired the

Paris-based photo agency Gamma to secure access

to high-quality news photo coverage for its 200 publications and

related Internet websites.

Web Crawlers Win Right To Sample Images

Arriba Vista's right to sample all photos on the internet, and put thumbnail

copies of these images on their site, has been upheld in federal court in the

Southern District of California.

Leslie A. Kelly had sued Arriba Vista (now known as Ditto) for copyright

infringement of 35 of his images of the California gold rush country. The

court found that the use made by Arriba Vista was a "fair use" under the

copyright act.

A deciding factor for the court was that the thumbnails were produced much

smaller than the original file size, even though the entire image was used.

It was also important that Kelly could not show that he had lost business as

a result of his images being used on this site. The court concluded that

many visitors to Kelly's site might never have found it had it not been

included on the Arriba Vista search engine.

Kelly also claimed that Arriba Vista had violated the new Digital Millennium

Copyright Act (DMCA) by removing copyright management information associated

with Kelly's images. All the copyright information was on the page adjacent

to, but not physically part of, the images.

The court found that DMCA would only apply if the information had been

removed from the image itself and that the fact that the image was separated

from a piece of textual information that had appeared under it on Kelly's

page was not a violation.

Good Ol' Days For The Printing Industry

Trend Watch reports that commercial printers will soon be calling 1998 "the

good ol' days!", even though business in that year wasn't all that good.

Business conditions for commercial printers are headed South just after the

millennium according to the newly created TrendWatch(tm) Business Conditions

Index which is at its lowest level since the start of data collection for the

Index over five years ago. This Index measures current and expected business

conditions in the graphics markets.

The Trend Watch printing industry index dropped from 95.1 in the spring of

1999 to 84.1 today and shows that business conditions for printers look a lot

like those of 1996.

However, in 1996 the threat that dollars would be shifting from print budgets

to new media was only a threat. Now for many print buyers, new media offers

a realistic choice, and cross-media publishing is becomming more

commonplace. This increased use of the web affects budgets, new jobs, page

counts, reprint cycles, and other print job characteristics.

Why should you care?

According to Trend Watch the way print is used in many markets will

significantly change. It appears that 1999 will go down as the year that the

Internet started to shift the printing demand curve. Fewer printed pieces

could mean fewer images sold for print uses.

There will be more cross-media uses where communication projects are

strategically integrated to use the Internet and print together in addressing

the different needs of market segments.

Photographers need to be sure they are positioned to get their images used in

digital media as well as print, and they need to make sure that they are

being properly compensated for digital uses.

New Photo Section On The New York Times Web Site

The New York Times has announced a new photo section at:


The Times claims this section will conveniently collect the excellent work of

New York Times photographers, as well as special features you'll find only at

The Times on the Web. The site certainly offers a wide variety of still

photography, but it is unclear how photographers are being compensated for

use of their images on this site.

The new section premieres with an extraordinary collection of photographs

from Annie Leibovitz's new book, "Women," as well as a photo tour of how

Times Square has changed over the past century.

While reviewing the photos from "Women" you are kicked into the Getty's

Art.com site where presumably you can buy some of these images as fine art


There are slide shows or hard news events and historical features about

Eastern Europe and Vietnam.

The Vietnam section drops the user into the Learning Network with a series of

lessons for use by teachers and students. It is not hard to imagine how this

type of learning could eventually replace a lot of textbook use.

The site also offers users the opportunity to purchase individual "New York

Times" photos for "personal use." We assume that all photos reproduced in

the Times will be made available in this manner, not just images produced by

NY Times staffers.

This site clearly demonstrates the potential for consumer use of still photos

in a variety of ways. It is not clear how the image creators will be

compensated for these uses. Everyone who sells images to the NY Times should

be insisting on clear definitions of how they will be compensated for these


What You Should Know About Doing Business Globally

Want to know what foreign agents outside the U.S. are looking for?

Here's what Barbara Brundage, President of Pacific Stock in Honolulu found

out when she polled a number of them. Barbara reported the following in a

seminar at Photo Expo on October 29th.

Pacific Stock comes from the perspective of the smaller, more specialized

agency and supplies images to International Affiliates. Nearly 40% of

their sales are made outside the U.S.

Brundage polled a number of International Agents and the following are some

of their comments.

  • Portugal wants a more Latino look wearing European clothes

  • Austria wants a more European look that is more daring and less


  • Germany doesn't want any "typical" American people.

  • Netherlands says they see too many "silicone" models that are too

    perfect, too polished and too happy.

  • France says Americans should be more aware of the European "styles."

    New York photographers get a plug here. They are more aware of this European

    "touch" possibly because NY is more cosmopolitan.

  • Italy says there are too many business shots of American businessmen

    who always have a cup of coffee on the desk; and you would never see an

    Italian wearing a red tie and a white shirt.

  • Brazil says girls whose hair is too blonde won't sell in South America.

  • Australia says don't send any shots of people in baseball or cowboy

    hats and don't confuse the Australian look with the New Zealand look.

  • Hong Kong says only native people are used in ads throughout SE Asia

    so, you'll see a Thai used in a Thailand ad and a Malaysian person used in a

    Malaysia ad.

  • Japan says don't try to shoot Japanese people outside Japan. Because

    chances are they won't look like Japanese people and won't sell in Japan


    One European agent recently surveyed several well known U.S. photographers

    and discovered they earn more from catalog picture sales made outside

    the U.S., despite the fact that they only got 30% of the gross sales,

    than they make from U.S. catalog sales. Thus, it appears that despite

    the problems, there is definitely potential for photographers to do well in

    international markets.

    Thanks again to Barbara Brundage for this research.

    EMPICS Announces New Managing Director

    EMPICS, a leading web based sports photo agency in the United Kingdom, has

    appointed Graham Cross as Managing Director. Graham is leaving his post as

    International Sales Manager at Corbis where he is currently in charge of

    developing new digital subagent relationships across Europe, the Middle East

    and Africa.

    Cross has also worked for the Visual Communications Group as Sales Director

    for their Editorial Division.

    EMPICS current managing director and founder, Phil O'Brien, is moving to

    the role of Chief Executive of the organization, to concentrate on strategic,

    corporate development.

    Graham will be focussed on growing revenues from both home and international

    markets and on increasing awareness of EMPICS products and service.

    Commenting on his new role as Chief Executive, O'Brien says: "We were the

    first sports photo agency to be established on the Web and we are

    experiencing exciting growth. 93% of our business today is conducted

    digitally. Our Web capabilities and great sports photography in this fast

    moving world presents us with significant business development


    Henning Named Managing Director At Robert Harding

    The Robert Harding Picture Library has selected Paul H. Henning for the

    company's newly created position of Acting Managing Director.

    Henning, a 14-year veteran of the stock picture industry, will divide his

    time between his home office in the United States and the library's London

    office "We'll keep that arrangement in place for a while so that we can

    assess whether Paul's more valuable to us developing our business in America

    on a full-time basis or overseeing our operations here in the U.K.," said

    company founder and CEO Robert Harding.

    Paul Henning began his career as a professional photographer in 1974 and

    co-founded Third Coast Stock Source in 1985. Late in 1997 Henning and his

    partners sold Third Coast and he assumed the position of Manager of European

    Operations for Comstock, Inc. Henning was based in London during his stint

    with Comstock and resigned that position in January of 1999.

    Online Sales

    Many clients are trying to get unlimited future web use for a single fee.

    They argue that they are not making any money from their web site. Here's

    what wall street analysts project as the revenue that major entertainment

    companies will earn from their internet operations in 2001 and 2004.





    $261 Million   

    $1.32 Billion   


    $125 Million   

    $410 Million   


    $232 Million   

    $1.2 Billion   

    Hang onto future rights!

  • 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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