Web Video Continues Meteoric Rise, Affects Stock Licensing

Posted on 10/15/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)



There is widespread consensus that video, in all its forms, is becoming increasingly important in the visual-media landscape. The proliferation of video, particularly on the Internet, is evident in the success of ventures such as Google's YouTube, as well as the number of independent startups focusing on online video search.

Projections of future growth are staggering. For example, the Framingham, MA-based IT research firm IDC forecasts that in the U.S. alone, Internet video will be a $1.7 billion industry by 2010. Such meteoric growth has already affected the stock-licensing and photography industries.

The largest stock-image companies have all diversified into video-related service lines. Getty Images and Corbis license stock footage for high-end advertising and media uses; Jupitermedia also has a large investment in video-related trade events. Leading microstock businesses, including iStockphoto and Shutterstock, offer video clips at micro price points.

In an effort to capitalize on a growing media segment and offset cannibalization of existing business lines by new ones, traditionally stills-oriented businesses now compete with video-only establishments. The latter range from multinationals, such as U.K.'s BBC Motion Gallery, to the Los Angeles-based, privately owned Reelhouse, a royalty-free footage and video effects provider that offers "all you can download in a day" packages alongside single clips.

Today, photographers are often expected to possess video skills to secure assignments and jobs. Thus far, the trend has been most evident in photojournalism, where newspapers are rushing online to augment declining print readership. The requirement for photographers to be able to supply both stills and video for publication is so widespread that industry organizations, such as the U.K.'s National Council for the Training of Journalists, have begun to offer video training.

There is currently no empirical evidence that suggests that video has cannibalized revenues from licensing stills. However, footage licensing is booming in contrast to flat or declining still-image revenues reported by large and small agencies alike. Industry insiders often point to video as a viable alternative for stock photographers who have experienced a decline in revenues from selling traditional stock.


Copyright © 2007 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

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