Westend61 Trims Collection and Raises Prices

Posted on 4/17/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

German stock-image producer Westend61 is removing over one-third of its collection from circulation. The 4-year-old company is also raising its print-resolution pricing by an average of 25%.

"After four years of producing images, it was time for a cleanup," says Nadine Reichardt, the head of Westend61's international department, of the company's decision to say goodbye to 3,000 royalty-free and 4,000 rights-managed images. There are two types of eliminated content: Images that have not generated sufficient revenues and those no longer in line with the company's standards and product profile.

"At the same time, we decided to invest more money and resources into new productions [that warrant higher pricing]," Reichardt explains. Westend61 is already at the highest end of the premium pricing market, with high-resolution images selling in the $250 to $380 range at Getty Images. Pricing is comparable at all of Westend61's 180 international distributors.

Still, the company feels there is room to grow by further differentiating its images from those available through microstock and midstock outlets, which are improving image quality and offering a growing choice of what Reichardt describes as classic stock content. In contrast, Westend61 looks to provide content in highest demand among high-end buyers willing to pay premium prices. This includes, for example, images of several people in an exclusive location.

Such shoots also require an increased investment in research, production and staff. Reichardt points out that image use is not the sole criterion that determines value from the customer's perspective. "Many clients (especially advertising agencies) know about production costs, otherwise they would do the shootings themselves."

Though the company is not yet certain how it will market the images it pulled, Reichardt says it will not be through a microstock platform. She adds that Westend61 is considering several options and will consult its photographers before making a decision.

Deleting images from its royalty-free and rights-managed collections will become a regular exercise for Westend61. Similarly, the company recently eliminated some distributor relationships. Reichardt explains that Westend61 is a small team that makes a significant investment in each distributor by supporting local sales and marketing activities or offering additional services. "If this investment does not pay off, then it doesn't make sense to continue the business relationship," she concludes.

In an effort to remain profitable in the face of increased competition, many stock distributors have continued discounting. Westend61 is taking the opposing approach, along with Image Source, which also recently raised prices.

Copyright © 2008 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 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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