Random Thoughts 24

Posted on 10/11/2000 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



October 11, 2000

Getty Trademarks

Getty Images has filed to trademark "1" and "One". So far there has been no response

from the trademark office, but one day everyone may have to pay Getty a royalty to use

"1" or "One."

Third Quarter Revenues For Getty Images

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Getty Images lead investment banker, said on October 6th,

"GETY Remains a Top Pick." Previously MSDW had estimated Getty's revenue for the third

quarter (ended September 30th) at $127 million. This would be a rise in revenue of

only $3.5 million, compared with the 2nd quarter, despite the fact that Getty should

have had a revenue boost as a result of the olympics and the presidential campaign

according to what Jonathan Klein told investors at the end of the 2nd quarter.

Now, MSDW has revised their estimate slightly to say they believe "Getty will report

somewhere between $125 and $130 million in revenue. At $125 million that is only a

$1.5 rise in revenue for the quarter. In investment banking circles to put a lower

bottom number on revenues six days after the end of the quarter discussed is

significant, even though it is only two million lower. Getty won't report its 3rd

quarter revenue number officially until sometime in early November.

Rebecca Runkle of MSDW also said in an earlier report that the eroding value of the

Euro may represent a near term risk for Getty Images as nearly 30% of its sales are

generated in that region.

This coupled with the Forbes article that we mentioned in Randon Thoughts 23

and Getty's current stock price of around $24 per share may mean some rough days ahead

for Getty Images.

Getty's Sales By Market Segment

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter reported Getty Images sales my market segment as follows:













They said that Stone's average sale per image is $700. If film is included along with

Corporate and Advertising 85% of Getty's business is aimed at this top end of the

market. It is also interesting that only 12% of Getty's sales are to the Magazine and

Publishing fields. I believe that worldwide Magazine Editorial and Book Publishing

represent closer to 25% of the total market revenue.

TIB Contract Addendum

TIB is distributing a new contract addendum to photographers. One of the issues is

return of images. The addendum promises to return all core images within 60 days which

is a big improvement over previous contract which had no time limit. However, for all

other images which for many photographers are better than 95% of what they have filed

with TIB, the company to look for them for three years, but if they haven't been found

in that time TIB (Getty) is absolved of any responsibility to find or return them.

There is no definition as to how hard they will look before declaring images lost.

Given the Chuck Mason story that appeared in PDN in July,

www.pdn-pix.com/news/arts_0700/art1.html and the huge number of images sitting in

warehouses, many for more than three years, this appears to be a back door way to dump

that material as well as a lot of other images rather than going to the trouble of

returning them.

So far every photographers I have talked is rejecting this addendum on the basis of

this issue alone, even though there are a lot of other issues within the addendem that

give them cause for concern. if no other.

Sygma Executives Resign

Sygma General Manager Jean-Marc Smadja has submitted his resignation and will be leaving

the company on October 15th. Editorial Manager Eric Preau left the company at the end

of September and Jean-Francois Limelette, Financial Manager has also submitted his



Is Corbis following Getty's lead in trying to move beyond stock in an effort to get a

share of the assignment business? Some photographers were concerned recently when an

employment ad appeared on Monster.com for an "outside sales position targeting the

advertising industry."

The ad went on to say, "This position is responsible for identifying, developing, and

managing relationships with advertising and graphic design clients in order to obtain

assignments for photographers by means of outbound telemarketing, direct sales, client

demos, sales events and presentations. Responsible for negotiating fees and rights and

drafting client proposals and contracts for assignments as well as stock image license


It turns out that the ad was placed by Marcel Saba and the person hired will be

reporting directly to him. The aim is to generate advertising assignments for the

editorial photographers represented by Saba. Saba has been involved in doing

assignment -- beyond the normal editorial type or work -- for many years, but

photographers who have been represented by Saba for a long time claim it is a miniscule

part of the operation.

This doesn't sound like a major foray into the assignment business and Corbis says they

have no plans to start an assignment business.

Corbis Selling Reuter & AFP Images

Corbis has a deal with Reuters and AFP that allows them to license rights to the images

these companies produce after a one week embargo.

These images are placed in the Corbis database on a daily basis and compete directly

with the images produced by editorial photographers formerly with Sygma and Saba.

Photo agencies used to limit the competition within a particular agency to a coverage

of a particular event. That is now a thing of the past. Any freelance photographer

covering an event where a Reuters or AFP photographer is present knows that his work

will be directly competiting with those images -- through his agency. If he can't

produce something totally unique from what the others are producing, he might as well

go home. The freelancer, of course, is working on speculation. The photographers

working for Reuters and AFP are paid a salary, or a day rate.

Dirck Halstead "Saying Goodbye to Sygma"

In his October editorial on www.digitaljournalist.org Dirck Halstead speaks strongly

about the situation at Sygma.

He reports that Steve Davis has said that Corbis does not want to co-produce any

journalistic projects and points out that if this is fact it may have signed the death

warrant faor freelance photojournalism.

In talking about the "mega agencies" he says, "What these giants wanted (when they

purchased the agencies) was the archives. What they did not want was to fork out more

money for new coverage. The acquisition of those archives meant -- in their minds --

they need no longer deal with the world of journalism."

For anyone interested in photojournalism, the article is worth reading and thinking



Searching For Your Images Online

Photographers should be able to search for their own images at online sites where their

work is represented. Here are some of the reasons:

  • They need to be able to determine if all their images are actually coming up when

    searches are done on a particular subject. Mistakes happen and the photographer ought

    to have the right to check, and correct, mistakes.

  • They need to determine the effectiveness of the keywording and make suggestions,

    if necessary.

  • If there are subject areas where they have produced images and none of their

    images come up when a search is done, they need to understand why.

  • When a client calls a photographer looking for images, the photographer needs to

    be able to tell the client how to fine HIS images online. If the client later finds

    images from a competitor by doing a broader search that is too bad, but the

    photographer ought to have the ability to focus the client's initial search.

  • Knowing how many images have been selected on a particular subject helps the

    photographer adjust his shooting. If the photographer has five images accepted on a

    particular subject, but his agency has 150 images on that subject on their site the

    photographer may not want to supply anything else on that subject. If he is going to

    shoot more on the subject, he should make sure that the results will be better than the

    others already available.

    What's Needed In The Online Environment

  • A digital database that consolidates small suppliers in a way that will enable

    them to effectively market worldwide.

  • Participation costs would be at a level the small and specialist supplier could


  • Buyers could use the database to easily find the right image, or the right

    supplier for their particular specialist need of the moment. The database would have a

    broad cross section of subject matter, and a depth of selection in every specialist

    area. To accomplish this the database would be aimed at providing fast and efficient

    digital search, not necessarily full e-commerce delivery.

  • Customer acceptance of a "scan-on-demand" strategy. In such cases the file size

    shown for selection may be perfectly satisfactory for the editor to determine if he or

    she wants to use the image. It may also be satisfactory for many small print uses.

    However, the file may not have sufficient data for a full or double page ad use of the

    image. When larger uses are contemplated, it may be necessary to re-scan the original.

    The buyer may have to wait an hour, or a day, to get the file size necessary. This

    may not be the optimum in customer service but in the long run customers will

    eventually be faced with the choice of accepting "scan-on-demand," or living with a

    very limited selection of imagery.

    Buyers need to recognize that it may be in their long term best interest to encourage

    suppliers who adopt a "scan-on-demand"

    strategy because it is these sellers who will be able to afford to offer a better

    selection of imagery in the buyers specialist area.

  • A system that offers customers easy access to a broader analog files when the

    digital selection is not sufficient.

  • Copyright © 2000 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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