Randon Thoughts 106

Posted on 7/29/2005 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



July 29, 2005

Corbis Partners with European Pressphoto Agency

Corbis and the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) have announced a partnership agreement for distribution of EPA images through the Corbis network. Under the agreement, Corbis will have exclusive rights to license EPA images in non-breaking news markets in the United States, Canada, Australia, Asia and Africa. These markets include publishers and advertisers.

The EPA images include images from EFE of Spain, the Italian agency ANSA, Germany's DPA, PAP of Poland and the Austrian agency APA.

Corbis has similar partnerships with other news sources, including Reuters, ZUMA and the Dallas Morning News.

"We're not trying to be a wire service," explains Corbis spokesperson Dov Schiff. Instead, Corbis is aiming for the very significant after market for all types of editorial images. There is also lots of demand to use editorial images in advertising, but often this has been impossible because advertisers need model releases and photojournalists rarely obtain them from news subjects. However, one of the benefits of working through Corbis is that it now provides rights clearance services to enable advertisers to use some editorial images.

Hughes Out At ImageState

Earlier this month Leslie Hughes was removed from the position as Chief Executive Officer at ImageState. Jeff Shear, Chief Technology Officer and a Director of the company has been appointed to the position of Managing Director.

Hughes held major leadership positions at The Image Bank and Corbis before joining ImageState. Shear was CTO at The Stock Market before Corbis acquired the company and he remained with Corbis until he was hired by ImageState.

It is unclear why Hughes was removed, but sources indicate that it involved a disagreement with the board over strategy for turning the company around. Most photographers had seemed very happy with what Hughes was doing and were gaining confidence in ImageState after years of dissatisfaction and mistrust. The fact that she was removed without much explanation may make it very difficult for Shear.

PictureArts Employees Receive Windfall

When a stock agency is sold typically the owners and investors take the proceeds and move off into the sunset.
Things are a little different at PictureArts which was sold to Jupitermedia this month for $63 million.

PictureArts CEO Jeffrey Burke has announced that a total of $7 million of the proceeds will be distributed to the 90 employees of the company. Senior managers will get most of the money, but everyone in the company will get something. Senior managers were due to receive the bulk of their money at closing (approximately July 19th), but some of their payments were to be deferred to encourage them to stay with the company.

Burke told Photo District News, "We got where we are because we've hired smart, hard-working people. We felt obligated to share."

Alamy Reaches Three Million Images

With content from over 4,750 photographer and 300 agencies wordwide, Alamy has trebled its collection over the last 12 months and now has more than 3 million images on its site. The company adds more than 200,000 new images every month.
This rapid growth has been well received by customers who benefit from the broad diversity of content available. A current focus of the company is on creating the largest and fastest search engine for stock photography.

Sales Positions At Major Agencies

One of the things that makes Getty and Corbis so effective at licensing rights to images are the huge number of sales-related positions that each company maintains.

Getty has about 1,800 total employees worldwide and approximately 700 of these people are dedicated to sales or sales support such as: customer service, research, account executives and account managers.

At Corbis the total worldwide staff is about 1,000 and about 400 of those positions are involved in the same type of sales-related activities.

Getty points out that much of its RF business is self-serve and thus requires less human touch than might be necessary to sell RM and Editorial. Until recently Corbis' RF business had been much smaller than Getty's. But, the company has made some recent acquisitions and seems to be ramping up to be much more competitive in the RF side of the business.

Further Consolidation In Magazine Publishing Industry

According to a Trend Watch/Graphic Arts survey publishing companies that produce magazines and periodicals are among the healthiest printing companies in the industry, but they are achieving this through much more diversification in the types of products they produce and the media they work in.
TWGA expects to see a further concentration of the industry at the top of the market.

Bystander Photojournalism, Another Threat To The Professional

With the proliferation of cell phone cameras it is becoming much more common for some of the most compelling pictures of breaking news events to come from amateurs.

Prime examples of this trend were the recent bombing tragedy in London and the tsunami in Asia late last year. Some of the best pictures moved on the wires and published by major newspapers and magazines were shot by bystanders.

When an event breaks major news outlets immediately post messages on the internet searching for pictures and scour the picture-sharing blogs. One site they use is www.flickr.com. Technology continues to make it easier for the people who produce such images to make then available quickly and for the news organizations to locate such people.

While file sizes are often too small for good newspaper reproduction the fact that the photographer was on the spot at the moment of the event or immediately after often trumps quality. In the future professional photographers are likely to find much heavier competition from amateurs when it comes to covering major breaking news events.

ASMP Investigates Mira

As a result of several complaints received concerning Mira, the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) has sent an e-mail to its members encouraging them to report any problems they are having with Mira regarding the supplying of financial information, reporting sales in a timely manner, making royalty payments in full in a timely manner, or responding to requests for information.

Mira is operated by the Creative Eye artists' cooperative and was originally founded by ASMP although ASMP has had no direct connection with Mira for several years.

Eugene Mopsik, executive director of ASMP, says his organization typically gathers information related to member concerns as part of its due diligence on behalf of its members. The organization has received some responses to its request, but at this point has no plans to proceed further. However, the organization is still in the information gathering process.

Retrofile Sold To Getty

Xenofile Images, Inc. of Chatham, NY, and H. Armstrong Roberts Company, of Philadelphia, PA, have sold Retrofile.com to Getty Images for payment in excess of $3 million in cash on June 14th, 2005.

Retrofile, a joint venture between Xenofile and H. Armstrong Roberts Co., marketed the world's leading collection of vintage commercial stock imagery from the early 1900s to the 1970's. Through the deal, Getty Images acquired the Retrofile brand name and trademark, the entire Black Box collection of 10,000 retro stock images, and two thousand vintage stock images from the H. Armstrong Roberts collection.

The Black Box and H. Armstrong Roberts collections are unique for their distinctive retro style and for the model-releases on all images showing recognizable people, a rare and valuable feature making them marketable for all uses, editorial and commercial.

As a result of this acquisition, the images will be distributed via gettyimages.com, the de-facto homepage of visual communicators. "We're excited to know the brand we created just three years ago has achieved strong recognition among stock photo buyers, and has also been recognized by Getty Images as a brand worth promoting on their site," said Chris Ferrone, President of Xenofile Images and co-founder of Retrofile with Bob Roberts, President of H. Armstrong Roberts Company.

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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