Beringea [a $250 million transatlantic VC firm focused on the media sector] invested in eMotion in 2000, along with media giants such as TimeWarner. The company burned through lots of cash and required more investment, which diluted Beringea's original stake. Last summer, investment bankers were hired to arrange a sale and in July visual-solutions firm Corbis acquired eMotion for an undisclosed amount. "The magic hadn't happened and we needed to move on," Bocan [investment director at Beringea] said.
The stock photo industry is full of rumors. Weird ones, and even more weird ones ("Believe me or not, either Google or Yahoo will take over GI").
In the last months unsolicited rumors had it that soon a new website called About The Images with the latest news on the stock photo industry and in-depth reports will launch.
StockPhotoTalk jumped at the chance and talked with one of the founders behind the new stock photo industry information resource, Don Farfelloni. He explained that this totally new kind of a website will launch shortly.
"You know, with all the million dollars deals about millions of images in our
industry recently, we thought it´s overdue to offer a new kind of quality and exclusivity of reporting, serving the needs of our customers and taking the satisfaction of our future readers to
the next level", stated Don Farfelloni. "It´s clearly not about the image anymore, but About The Images. The old times are gone. Definitely."
this is Part III of looking closer at Alexa. Hints:
Take into account Alexa`s "Important Disclaimers", especially the section about foreign domain names (co.uk, co.jp, de., etc.) and the measurement procedures at all.
"Alexa results are based on a small statistical sample. They are very good for sites under 10,000, and still pretty good for sites under 100,000. Above that, they aren't that significant." (QT Luonghere).
What to do if your photo agency needs to attract more customers buying more stock photos in less time? Some cut the prices (for whatever reasons, Imagestate recently offered up to 70% off selected CDs), while other stock photo agencies rediscover micro marketing instruments and follow the omnipresent digital lifestyle iPod hooray mass hysteria ("Buy some stock photos and receive an iPod for free, buy more photos & jump out of the window, you´ll receive two iPods for free"), that -- at least to me -- seems to be also one of the underlying principle behind mags like Mactribe.
to CEO Jonathan Klein's comments on his financial quarterly conference
call last April. At the end of the call he was asked what he thought of
the subscription photo image business. His response included the word
"crap." His comments could only be interpreted to mean that any
subscription offering in the commercial image space was "crap." Yesterday
CEO Klein plunked down $50 million for a subscription photo image
business that contains photos shot by amateurs. Quite a turnaround by
Mr. Klein! I presume that $50 million means that "crap" sells?
Pickerell adds in a new passage only the words "quite a turnaround", and it remains unclear at first sight if this is a comment of Pickerell or a quotation. But I think there´s no turnaround. With respect to the subsequent introduction of Creative Express, Jonathan Klein said (Download link) during the Q1/2005 Conference Call on April 20, 2005:
I received a lot of heat and anonymous emails in the days after this earlier blog post: "Google PageRank and Alexa Traffic Rank: Numbers And Figures". Some readers (the ones at the low end) cried and complained endlessly, others (the ones at the high end) were pretty satisfied. Here´s the second edition. I´ve skipped the Google PageRanking this time (e.g. the new website Stockphotographer.info has a Google PageRanking of 0, but an Alexa ranking of 60,612).
Don´t overestimate all this. Note that Alexa traffic rankings have neither a real scientific value nor are
they truly reliable media data, they´re just a rough estimation and not an entirely accurate indicator (see the "Important Disclaimers"). In a nutshell, the raging passion when readers were responding to the first edition of Google PageRank and Alexa Traffic Rank: Numbers And Figures was diametrically opposed to the apparent uselessness of Alexa traffic rankings.
The new issue of VISUELL, the "leading mag for the picture business" (national print run decline from 12.000 in 2003 to 9.500 in 2006), introduces a new column named StockPhotoTalk smallTALK.
To my surprise I noticed that this new column is written by an author who wants to stay anonymous and uses this freedom of speech to bash publicly PACA and CEPIC. Topics covered:
Why in the hell has the next CEPIC Congress to take place in Biarritz? Why not in Paris or another french town? But Biarritz, a small town with few hotels, and very difficult to travel to by plan? With dump flight connections and not one single international direct flight for non-french people? It takes me more time to fly to Biarritz than to drive to Paris by car.
Since some companies are demanding for these figures and I´m tired to copy´n´paste them over and over again into emails, here´s a shortlist of the Google and Alexa ranking for some resources (regarding Google, they are listed alphabetically, if they share the same ranking):
"Now let's turn to Getty Images' marketing tactics on Google in France and the United States. Taking the low road in Internet marketing, Getty has been busy buying Google keywords for JupiterImages' trademarks such as "Thinkstock", "Comstock" and even more amazingly "AbleStock" (our Canadian brand that Getty has never distributed). Of course this is illegal and wrong. One wonders why a company of Getty Images size and stature would resort to such low level and illegal tactics?"
Short note for the people who are tired of the acquisition game "I´ll buy your competitor before you´ll grab this company". Back to the roots:
MediaStorm´s Brian Storm (Ex-VP of News, Multimedia & Assignment Services for Corbis), Robert Browman (Ex-Senior Editor for News, News Assignment Representative and
Multimedia Producer for Corbis) and Joe Santa (Ex-Multimedia Design Director for Corbis) have launched a new online publication with projects by renowned journalists, filmmakers and artists. Details (this press release doesn´t show the images of the original, so point your browser to MediaStorm).
With all the mumbo jumbo around new technologies and the latest news on the "Who-is-buying-who game" (and I have to admit that I´m sometimes on top of this!) some other things that should attract our attention are often forgotten.
Nine weeks ago Ron Rovtar of the excellent Stock Asylum emailed me and draw my attention to a new website the Stock Asylum had uploaded containing "links to a number of organizations that are accepting donations for Katrina disaster relief. Most of the links are to pages that will let folks make direct credit card donations."
From what I have read there are many, many thousands of stock photographers around the world. Why is it that there is no international stock photography association that transcends issues such as RF, RP, RM, direct marketing or ANY of the other issues such as time in the industry, editorial or commercial, agency served or whatever differences there may be or have been? [...] Sure there are other photo industry associations, but there is no totally inclusive STOCK INDUSTRY association that will help us to prepare and position our craft and serve us all as we move forward.
The amateur/end-consumer oriented Digital Photography Blog is a part of Weblogs Inc. and went -- my personal opinion -- online very, very late, as most of the other blogs in this area were already online years earlier. Everyone out there knows that writing about amateur/end-consumer oriented digital photography creates heavy traffic/hits via Google search queries.
Duncan Riley of The Blog Herald once wrote: “If Calacanis can do it, then anyone can do it.” Compare the estimated revenues of Weblogs Inc. (Calacanis wrote earlier, also mentioned here, that his weblog network is generating ad revenues close to $1m) and the estimated purchase price... .
went down to Oakland's warehouse district to shoot. No sooner had we
begun than we were stopped and confronted by Sheriffs. They required
each of us to turn over our IDs and then proceeded to detain us for
about 20 minutes. [...] There is a chill in the air in this country right now but I'm not sure
that taking it out on the rights of photographers is the correct
answer. We were committing no crime and peacefully assembling for the
purpose of our passion, photography and it's pursuit in a group that we
call Flickr. This particular cop asked that I not take his photograph. I took this shot anyway when he wasn't paying attention.
Meckler is linking in his blog to the article of Pickerell and writes that
Pickerell's reports are available only to paid subscribers. I have
asked the owner [Pickerell] for permission to reprint his pieces and have been
granted permission. For readers who want a steady commentary about the
stock photo industry I suggest that they subscribe.
Here is the mentioned link to the opus in plain text: http://www.pickphoto.com/articles/article-view3.asp?id=751.
As always the last number, in this case 751, is indicating the story number.
The strange thing, however, is that if you change the story number at the end, let´s say to 750 or 749 or the famous 748 ("Press Releases 2"), you finally are in the position to read all the stories that formerly were requiring a subscription.
I think that the original intention had been that only readers of Meckler´s blog have permission to read only this special Story 751, via a special link or similiar, because "Pickerell's reports are available only to paid subscribers".
PS: Not to be misunderstood, my grandma has paid for this subscription service (it starts at $125.00), so it´s very strange to notice that my very dear grandma, a 82-years old lady, is paying for something which is now available for free.
PS2: The opus mentions "diversified businesses": not a single word in the opus about -- footage. Or, just quoting one of the usual suspects, "the footage industry is set to grow dramatically" and "will increase and over time may approach that for still imagery", so Klein here in the Financial Times and later here.
Getty had revenues in 2004 of $ 34.2m from footage sales; these were effectively 5.5%
of the total revenues of $ 622.4m (the average license fee for a clip of stock footage was $ 629 with a
final 2004 quarter rise of 25.5% compared with the last quarter of 2003), but compare these 34.2m Getty is generating only with footage to the revenues other companies are generating overall with their RM/RF imagery and identify the companies who are active in this business field at all.
Imagine this might continue. Imagine footage revenues might rise. Then you´ll have a diversified business in one business field -- others haven´t even started to discover footage.
[Update August 30: Alan Meckler has updated his blog entry on August 30,10:54 PM, and deleted the link to the story of Jim Pickerell]
The New Leipzig School of painters is being massively hyped around
the world. But it does have its finger on the pulse.
There must be good reasons when gallerists start talking about miracles
and proclaiming Leipzig as the world's art capital. There must be more
to it that the hustle and bustle of the art market when American
collectors learjet over to Leipzig to plough through studios and
galleries. Something major must have happened if suddenly thousands of
dollars changing hands for the offerings of third year
students. What's going on in Leipzig at the moment is prosaic,
gobsmacking, and obvious at the same time. And it happened like this. [...]
Saxony's panel paintings reflect the betrayed dreams of the individuals
of today's western world. The environment has gone awry, the promise of
And that is how the stupid Krauts responded today:
("A ghost reappears")
Note that the SPIEGEL claims to be an international magazine just like Time or Newsweek. but, as a british journalist once wrote, "the SPIEGEL has no international impact or significance." Scared to death, some disappointed journalists founded SPIGGL afterwards, now the leading online guide to what really happens in this country, but this is strange and weird stuff for hicks and of little importance at all.
Let me summarize what all this means about the photo industry today:
The digital imaging market has so evolved away from "professionals" and
into the consumer market, that even the job of "photo marketing" has
trickled down to the consumer market too.
2) Because of (1),
this market segment can now be defined as mature: it's well-saturated
and capable of being run by the average person with little or no
technical or marketing experience. When a market is that mature,
competition is going to be tough. Success is certainly possible, but
only time will tell which of the many players will survive.
The best chances for success is to be at the top of the food chain,
and, as the "Opportunity" tab on the Photomax profile page(s) pretty
much admit in clear detail: they get rich through 1% of the effort from
100 people, rather than 100% of their own efforts.
This evening, Philip was extraordinary nervous, so the three of us asked him what had happened.
In his very own gossip diction, Philip explained that he was completely overf*cking whelmed because of a totally new business model he recently discovered.
“You know, there is this guy out there. This Superior GeniusJim Pickerell. I´m scared to death. He takes money for republishing press releases. For subscibers only. So clicking the previous link will take you, as a dumb user, to nowhere. And, you know what: it works, people are willing to pay him to read normally for free published press releases now for money. He is working in the Stock Photo Industry, where you are either an acquiring, a just acquired or a damned dead company nobody is interested in. But hell, what works there will work anywhere."
Michael was looking at Jerry and Jerry looked back to me. Michael was starting to be drenched in sweat, and Jerry alone had drunk about two bottles of this new, totally en vogue champagne from a young vineyard in Tijuana County named MöDöPrö. Hell, how do you pronounce that? Weird people.
However, Philip is a genius and an expert in exceptional business ideas. His phone rang, at the same time his pager went off and the overhead paging system called his name.
Jason Calacanis wanted to know how he could immediately get involved into this new business field that Philip discovered. He was nervous, because he knew that Duncan Riley of the Weblog Empire had already called Philip a dozen times in this matter. Jason said, “Hey Phil, let´s blog about this!”
Overhearing this, Jerry left immediately to the toilet for vomiting. Two blonde silicon cuties stepped in his way, pretending how cool his show last tuesday had been and all that crap. Michael, still sweating, looked at them and said, “I might have been taken the wrong kind of movies lately.”
A dark dog was running around, together with a very tall woman, yelping “we can now even track the usage of images that haven´t even been taken!”
In the back of the restaurant, Steve Rubel explained the benefits of a podcasted corean RSS menu card with chinese tags to the italian owner.
Then, with chattering of teeth, a product manager flounced around: "Hell, I had no internet connection
today. How should I be able to scan the blogosphere to xerox closely content for It´s all about Copying?
In a secluded part of the restaurant garden, two really big and long-time friends were talking. Without their lawyers.
One said: "I´ve just impounded three of your cars: a Ferrari, a
Lamborghini and an old Mercedes 600. You earned the money for this in the Picture Business. This for sure must hurt you pretty bad." The other responded: "Baby, you know there
are 15 other cars left, so what?" *
"You of all people should know that we are constantly developing new software products for
the imagery industry. But we have no clue what the other companies in
this field are working on. So, uhm, what`d you say, uhm, you´ll start
to talk to some of our competitors, pretending that you´ve to do some
kind of inquiry for a story you´re working on, an in-depth-review
of some products, an overview for mature customers, crap like that,
call it as you like it. We´ll pay all your travel expenses and you come
back to us and report the secret products the others companies are
working on. How does that sound to you, uhm?"
Perplexed by this ugly offer of industrial espionage, the hack writer turned around to leave
the pleace. Babyface grabbed him at the shoulders and rolled his eyes:
"Now you listen, you lame quill-driver. You know that we, as a member of the
syndicate, got an investment in you. An investment of time, training and money. It´s not working, so you gotta pay back. But I worked this deal out for ya. Gotta consider
yourself lucky that I´m sending you to this disciplinary outfit." **
So, this is just another normal weird mid-week evening with some misled individuals in the garden of the Barbetta Restaurant.
Besides this, it was too late for Philip. He knew it. No 10 seconds elevator pitch for him. That´s the far side of the dollar, if you´re just too late.
“I met the newspaper boy outside 10 minutes ago. The story is all on the Six O'Clock News and already printed in the newspapers. It´s gone. Leave it alone. Let it lay."
"The Superior Genius had been critized for reprinting stupid press releases for money. But, in my attitude to work, I think that some
people might not have fully understand the underlying idea."
He passed the following text from a newsticker to us, highlighting the importance of reprinting fee requiring press releases:
+++ Superior Genius has invented a new internet revenue model +++ Myriads of millions
of people had been locking for new revenue models for content on the
internet +++ New groundbreadking idea: take money for press releases +++ Real internet warriors of the early times are intrigued +++ Prominent VC
have already told the Wall Street Journal that they will fund this idea +++ Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers started
to fund pay-to-read-press-releases start ups +++ Guy Kawasaki of Garage Technologies Ventures said: "We are reinventing the web!" +++ "Our dreams are coming true!" +++ Worldwide the public relations companies are going completely nuts +++ "We never thought people out there would pay for such crap" +++ But they confirm: "From now on you´ll have to pay to read our stuff" +++ Nick Denton and Jason Calacanis are completely overwhelmed +++ "Hell, blogging and Google Ads had been yesterday" +++ CEO of the Press Release Cemetery Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Graveyard, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRAV) said: +++ "There are tons of bucks in those press release graves" +++ "Competition in the pay-to-read-press-releases
business is soon starting to become ruinous" +++ Another distributor of
fee requiring press releases told Phototalk: "The press releases we
disseminate are more productive, more effective and notably cheaper" +++ Some customers have concerns +++ Questions that arise are: "Superior Genius, do I get a discount if I read 10 press releases instead of
only 5 ?" +++ "Do I get a special account on crappy press releases of Corbis?" +++ "Do I have to pay to read press releases of my own company?" +++ Superior Genius responded: "Sure you´ll have to pay to read normal press releases of the company you work for" ++++ "I will do everything to serve the needs of my customers" +++ "Hell, I decided to do some consulting for E-Data, so why shouldn´t I take money for press releases?" +++ "Press releases serve a very useful function" +++ "In future I will
publish such information under a Press Release heading" +++ "The
following is the initial offering" +++ Click there only if you have paid +++ American Express said that Platinum Card holders will receive free entry to the new World Press Release Conference "Pay, Read, Forget" to be held in Flower Mound, TX +++ Local mayor said "Somewhere in Texas a small village is still missing it's idiot" +++ "So join the meeting!" +++
Philip looked at Jerry. Michael looked at me. Philip said, "I have lost it. I´m a wimp."
A very russian atmosphere, with real depressed men drinking wodka and endless whining and crying.
Out of nowhere, the most nauseous and sick experience this evening,
an ugly guy showed up, talking to the waiters:
"Hey, I´m always looking for some young drug addicts to do some keywording stuff
for my company, know someone? I´m paying nothing, just like I did in the
past, but they´ll stay alive. I know this can ruin my company, but
hell, I´m saving money right now. They´ll just be glad to get up in the morning and go to work like some regular fellows. That´s it."
Philip loaded the business card via
Bluetooh in his Palm and mailed it to his secret service.
He looked at Michael, "I´ll tell you this guy´s name if my lawyers are back from summer vacation and I´ll link to the company. Crazy, a lot of big companies in the picture business are working with this guy and are unwittingly involved in this, but obviously no one knows the background. One of these companies will be ready-to-go-public soon. I guarantee you this will be a very unpleasant experience, and only because of this relationship. Believe it or not, I got some emails earlier and you won´t believe the content. That´s my advantage of "growing in the crack of a sidewalk", my dear: people just trust you. I intend to keep it this way." ***
As we left the garden of the Barbetta heading to the Russian Tea Room and some Georgian-spiced seared halibut in Wodka, Philip´s phone rang again. Jerry looked at Michael and cited Scotty Fitzgerald:
"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning -
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
Later, he refused to pay the taxi.
Footnote: parts of this message are skit and are not intended to diminish the merits of anyone. Other parts are appalling real.
Or, as the little brother of Arthur Schopenhauer once said: “You know that you are an acknowledged personality with a widely accepted business reputation if people start to write not only seriously about you, but wryly and ironically. Look at what this cartoonist had done to Thomas Mann."
Footnote 2: Arthur Schopenhauer had no little brother, he had a little sister, Adele.
Footnote 3: Adele wasn´t a contemporary of Thomas Mann, who always paid the taxi.
The european photo trade show CEPIC 2005, June 16 - 19, Prague, started for me with the long and annoying registration procedure at the desk in the entrance hall that late registrants like me and other usual suspects truely deserve. Fortunately the two beautiful ladies of the newly founded consultancy Pepper Stark Ltd. in London were right in front of me.
I had been warned by someone who is more clever and smart than I ever will be that "In my experience, these conferences are mostly about schmoozing, meeting, greeting...not my strong point, anyway" but as always I was blissfully ignorant. And in fact, the best place to meet people had been in front of the Zofin palace, just on the right sight in the garden and parkway vis-a-vis the river Moldau.
After the late registration, the second disaster is that networking thing. If you talk to everyone about his business, you´ll have no one to talk to in-depth in the evening simply because you would have to answer to all these myriads of plans, new projects and alliances "Hey, are you sure or don´t you just don´t know what your competitor is doing and planning?"
So there is little to report from my side. I had to learn that Getty Images is picking up another agency -
Retro File. Yet there is no confirmation avalaible on the net, but the
information is from a TOP 10 photo agency and thus a source that I
trust (the same kind of information I had about a year ago when Thinkstock was sold). [Update June 24: int the meantime this deal is confirmed: see PDN]
IPNStock is partnering with german Fotofinder, but obviously no one over there knows how to handle Businesswire or a similar service, so again there is no confirmation avalaible on the net. And before I could ask Ali Paczensky, Fotofinder´s CEO , he left the scenery with a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate another deal he just closed with another CEO I´m to shy to name.
The biggest miscarriage happend in the Rights Seminar. Without advcance warning, a german lawyer started to talk about his subject - in german. I don´t know what all the other visitors from Spain, Japan, the Antarctic etc. were thinking in this moment. Shortly after he began, his speech was simultaneously translated into english by another lady. So shortly after the german "blablabla" the english "blablabla" followed. That for sure had been one of the most painful experiences in 2005.
Then, in the opening plenary session on thursday, there had been a panelist speaker who simply couldn´t open his mouth to talk. Only a small gap between his teeth showed up and a long and meaningful "Zzzzh" left his mouth. Fifteen minutes of "Zzzzh" can be real long. One CEO entering the door of the auditorium listened shortly, started to giggle and left the room laughing.
On the other hand the exceptional presentation of James West/Alamy ("Image Trading in 2010"). I have an old presentation from him ("The Digital Exchange Model"; use this link for downloading the old ppt-file) from the year 2000, but this time: no slides with words, just a few pictures to illustrate his ideas. BTW: Picture Archive News features an interview with James. Although it is likely that this was an email interview, the stunning news is that Alamy has 86 employees. Recalculate this to what is spent monthly for employees and compare the number of employees to the staff number of photo agencies in the worldwide TOP 5 - TOP 15 area ... .
Had to learn again that outside Central Europe obviously no one knows what these (and formerly here mentioned) new Middleware Technologies like the Communication Server (ConfessMedia) and OpenGate (PictureMaxx) are about. But outside in the garden I ran into Dr. Hartmann of VISUELL and hopefully we will be lucky to sketch out the advantages together with some testimonials in the autumn issue.
Talking to portal owners, I underwent the fear some are having regarding the technology and the business modell of StockPhotoFinder. How many customers will this company attract who later will say "Goodbye my dear" to classical portals? Anyway, earlier I wrote about "Those who attended New Orleans [last PACA meeting on November 2003]
will remember the fireworks sparked when one art director said she
prefers using GOOGLE to going to an agency ...". Dagmar Fabricius of StockPhotoFinder explained that this incident had been one of the bottom ideas to found the company.
So far. What amuses and amazes me the most is how small these conferences and trade fairs of the "Stock Photo Industry" are. No comparison to any convention of the professional field I used to work in earlier. The RSNA for example has some 60,000 attendants.
Some late Easter eggs: Yahoo buys Ludicorp/Flickr, HP intending to buySnapfish, NPPA's Pictures of the Year 2005 are online and the near Photobloggies 2005 winners are to be announced Mar 30. Other egss are still unhatched: are virtual photo portals for photo buyers the long-term death for classical/traditional photo portals? How will they affect the business? - More soon.