Wemark Enters Stock Photography Marketplace

Posted on 4/30/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Wemark has announced on VentureBeat.com that it is looking to replace existing agencies in the stock photography marketplace with a blockchain strategy that supports direct transactions between creators and customers and gives photographers control over the price of their photos.

Once content is approved for the marketplace it will be registered on the blockchain, along with the price, license type, and restrictions selected by the creator. Customers will then search the database for images that fit their needs. When a customer wants to license rights to use an image they will send tokens directly to the smart contract, and the protocol will automatically register a license and grant immediate access to the content.

There is some indication that the photographer’s 85% royalty share will be immediately credited to his or her account, but it is not clear exactly how that will happen or if there will be some minimum requirement of revenue in the account before the photographer can receive any payout.

According to Wemark CEO and co-founder Tai Kaish, “Prices of photos will range from $0.50 to $500 per license. By slashing transaction fees (from an average of 85 percent to 15 percent), photographers are expected to make 2-4 times more revenue per license than [through] any traditional distribution channel.”

In today’s market most photos are licensed at multiple different price points depending on who the customer is, the intended usage, the uniqueness of the image, the amount of time it takes the customer to find the right image, and the number of images needed. Kaish has not explained how a single price chosen by the photographer will be appropriate for a significant portion of interested buyers.

It seems likely that whatever price the photographer chooses it will either be too high for the vast majority of interested customers, or it will be low enough that anyone can afford it and the revenue generated from multiple sales will not be enough to cover the cost of producing the image. Choosing an ideal price point that ends up generating the most revenue for each particular image will be very difficult for most photographers.

It is unclear if photographers will be able to adjust the prices, anytime, on an image by image basis if they later determine the image is not being licensed at its current price, or if the image seems to be in high demand at a low price and the photographer determines that some customers might be willing to pay much more for the image at a somewhat higher price.

In the current stock agency system almost every image is licensed at multiple different price points depending on some of the above factors. There is no single price that is right for everyone.

Wemark is seeking to work with leading, experienced photographer and says will hire paid reviewers to approve photos based on clear guidelines. It is unclear how they will cover these reviewer costs from their 15% share of the gross revenue collected. It is also unclear when they will have a working demo of their site. Currently, they are focused on raising additional capital from investors before building a searchable site.

Wemark is introducing a dedicated token to power its economy for digital content. Wemark Tokens (WMK) will serve as the native payment system for the network, and as a way to reward all relevant parties for creating, sharing, and promoting digital content. They expect there to be very little fluctuation in dollar value of their tokens, but they do not explain how or why that will be the case.

“Wemark has focused on stock photography, as it’s expected to be one of the fastest industries to adopt blockchain technology at scale,” Kaish said. “Right after photos, Wemark intends to launch new verticals, such as illustrations, videos, 3D models, stock music, and graphic assets. Additionally, we’ll expand the economy and allow more participants to create, curate, and promote content on the network.”

“Wemark will introduce new ways for creators to share their revenue with co-creators (like models, actors, or graphic designers), reward the community for adding keywords and reviewing content, or use Wemark tokens to buy equipment and gear,” Kaish said. “Our vision is a thriving economy of digital content, powered by a blockchain-based protocol that’s aligned with interests of the entire community.”

Wemark is a VC-backed startup, and its advisors include Lars Perkins, former CEO and founder of Picasa; Keren Sachs, former director of content development at Shutterstock; and Lee Torrens, marketplace director at Canva.

Copyright © 2018 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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