Corbis Migrating Microstock Photos from Snap Village to Veer

cash photos sale smallIn the past few years, the advent, and rapid growth, of low cost royalty-free photo licensing services like iStockphoto (dubbed “microstock” agencies) gave amateur photographers an entrance into the previously exclusive world of image sales and caused a sea change in how some large licensing businesses operate.  Undercutting pricing and pinching sales, the upstarts arguably even forced the privatization of image licensing giant, Getty Images.

Bill Gates owned Corbis came late to the game but planned to capitalize with the launch of its own microstock service, Snap Village. A beta opened to the public in June of 2007 and the site launched commercially a year later.  The idea at the start was to differentiate by offering image owners the luxury of setting their own pricing schedules (in set stops between $1 to $50).  Two years later, Snap Village has found chasing down the market leader with this approach was harder than anticipated.  

Rather than revise, Corbis will of start over – sort of.  Click to Read More

Decisive Moments: Google Gets Life Images


  "When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.  When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence."  ~Ansel Adams  

"Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created.  It is a major force in explaining man to man." 
~Edward Steichen



life coversLife magazine was born of the great depression and through much of the 20th century itserved as a key benefactor to the development of modern photojournalism.  The magazine chronicled the civil rights movement, the lunar landing.  It was in the offices of presidents and the cells of pariahs. It was the stage of actors and activists.   Its pages host to famed writers and legendary photographers – from Ernest Hemingway to Gordon Parks.

Through the years, Life survived some of the world’s most violent upheavals. It soldiered through two world wars, a presidential assassination and a shamed resignation.  What the magazine couldn’t outlive, or keep pace with, was western society’s evolution to a media culture.  First diminished by the image-overload of the television age, then crippled by an influx of competitive image centric and niche-specific magazines, Life Magazine finally succumbed to the Internet Information Age last year. 

On April 20th, 2007, after four years on life support as a newspaper insert, Life Magazine quietly passed.  In the media, we said our goodbyes and delivered our eulogies.

Fortunately, in the information age what’s gone need not be lost or forgotten.  And that is the case with Life’s image library of more than 10 million pictures.

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Hellman Friedman to Privatize Getty Images for $2.1b

getty images soldIn less than two years, San Francisco private equity firm Hellman Friedman turned a $1.1b investment in advertising network DoubleClick into a $3.1b windfall.  Now they will set out to try and wring a similar result out of the struggling financials but solid intellectual property of stock photo and content licensor Getty Images.

The $2.1b buyout deal ($2.4b with the assumption of debt) was announced Monday.  It effectively closes a month long auction process in which Getty, beaten and battered in the markets, was seeking bailout assistance from a deep pocketed suitor.

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Selling Images: Getty Images on the Auction Block

getty saleWith acquisitions and a good sense of timing Getty Images grew from a small photo licensing business in 1995 to the world’s largest supplier of stock photos and videos.  Monday, the company confirmed it is now for sale in an auction to close at the end of the month.  Fueled initially by the digital world’s growing appetite for images, Getty Images has become a casualty of the same technological advancements and efficiencies that fueled its growth.

When Getty started out, it was the early days of the Internet boom. Click to Read More

Corbis Joins Microstock with Snap Village

While late to the party, Bill Gates’ owned photo stock agency, Corbis, is launching its  new microstock agency site Snap Village today.

microstockAs discussed in extensive detail on Metue earlier this month,  microstock is growing phenomena in the stock photo industry that takes advantage of user-generated content to create a pool of inexpensive images available for royalty-free license.  As a photographer, microstock services allow me to post my images and allow their use on websites, in product literature and elsewhere (even earning me, the amateur photographer, revenue).  As a web developer, through microstock, I can license images (non-exclusively) for display on Metue, or other sites.

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Getty adds music to images

Getty Images is expanding its focus from images to other forms of licensed content, today adding Music. The Seattle photo agency announced it was acquiring Pump Audio, a specialist licensing agency for independent musicians, for $42m.

pump audio

Pump Audio was founded in 2001 as a form of agent for independent musicians. The New York based company allows musicians to upload tracks which are then made searchable for potential licensing. If an Ad Exec, for example, is looking for a soundtrack to run behind a new Television commercial, the Pump platform, allows the Ad Exec to find and work with Independent musicians who otherwise may not have been on their radar. Pump maintains a catalog of more than 100,000 songs many of which might have been recorded explicitly for advertising. Pump licenses all the music in its archive for a flat fee. Last year, Pump reported approximately 80,000 placements. Click to Read More

Kodak: Reinventing digital cameras?

Kodak, a company built on a foundation of innovations for photography and film, has struggled somewhat as the world’s transitioned toward a more digital environment.  Some product lines have thrived while others have been restructured.  The company has made large bets on technology, particularly efforts to push into ink-jet printing and now, a possible new breakthrough for digital photography.

kodakLate last week  Kodak unveiled a technology it claims will improve the images of digital camera’s by a factor of 2x to 4x without requiring an increase in the size of the camera’s image sensor.  If the technology is as promised, is cost effective to produce, and becomes widely adopted, Kodak could be in a position to generate substantial licensing revenue.  The breakthrough could,  even potentially, be big enough to redirect the course of the entire digital camera marketplace.

To understand the technology at stake requires a basic understanding of how digital cameras work.  So in basic terms: digital camera’s use a grid like array of sensors to simulate film and capture an image.  The grid (which is a semi-conductor technology)  is composed of thousands of small light sensitive sensors (called Pixels). Each Pixel recognizes a dot of light (like grain in film) as bright or dark.  The computer-brain of the camera then converts that information into its memory.   Repeating the pattern of dark and light dots of lights like a mosaic recreates the picture.   The more pixels on the grid, the more information the camera can record; and the more information stored, the better the picture.  (The same is true in film, larger format negatives captures more detailed pictures by storing more information in the form of more data about the pattern of light). 

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