Friday, April 17, 2009

How many images are actually too many images today?

Barcelona (SPAIN), APRIL 2009 - If content is your problem, it is clear that it is not at age fotostock’s website. The stock agency closed the first quarter of 2009 uploading 902,705 images from the 351 collection of images they distribute to the THP Photo Services, their technological hosting platform that serves the needs of 59 other stock agencies and age fotostock group of companies as well.

However, if that was not enough, age fotostock received another additional 250,459 images from the more than 1800 image exclusive and active photographers they distribute. In this instance, only 31,232 images met age fotostock quality standards. Approximately 12% of the images received from photographers will have the opportunity to be seen when clients search for images. The THP now contains close to 9 million images that are feeding the websites of 59 image distributors worldwide, as well as the age fotostock offices.

With nearly one and a quarter million images received in three months, one wonders if digital technology is actually helping photography to go further away by selling images at lower than ever prices. If we assume that age fotostock is not the only stock agency showing millions of images on the internet, it is clear that the offer of images is substantially higher than its demand, therefore forcing the industry to increase distribution with the aim of compensating for sales price with sales volume. However, Royalty Free has already experienced what happens with mega non-exclusive distribution models based on fixing the selling price: the model vanishes when somebody sells images cheaper than those that have fixed prices and this is especially true when advertising, the obvious market for RF, goes down forced by a cyclical economy downturn.

If we assume that the “old good days of analog photography and great prices” will never come back the question that remains today is how many of these millions of images are really worth the trouble - all of them? Should we start accepting that a very minimal percentage of them have any possibilities of producing a sale? The more one sees images around - whether user generated, royalty free or rights managed - it is clear that only a small percentage of the images actually have selling options. Is this something that we need to care about?

If we don’t, because the term “control” when applied to the context “controlling the flow of images” will not be elegant in modern times, the reality then becomes something like, “if the user generates the content, let the market decide what it wants to buy” and let us, stock agencies, furnish the technical means to deliver the avalanche of digital images to the final user in a kind of yo-yo paradox “…from user generated images to the final user of them…” with no intermediate steps. Is this what the stock photography industry is aimed for?

About THP Photo Services:
The term THP (Technological Hosting Platform), is defined as the sum of the working and marketing efforts of a group of people: image providers, distributors, and clients, interacting interdependently within the global marketplace. Management of the THP is overseen single-handedly by age fotostock. The THP Photo Services software, created eight years ago yet with continuous improvement, has evolved into a community of 59 companies worldwide who enjoy 351 RF and RM image collections and the images of more than 1800 photographers which make up an impressive database of close to 9 million high-resolution files residing on THP Photo Services servers located in Barcelona, Spain, and New York, USA.

About age fotostock:
age fotostock is a general photo agency with offices in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, and Paris, dedicated to the continual addition of quality images ((Rights Managed, Royalty Free and Low Budget Royalty Free) from an impressive range of subjects on a daily basis. age fotostock also produces its own collections of images, age fotostock (RM), Pixtal, (RF) and easyFotostock (LBRF*), which are all distributed through as well as through over 131 other agencies worldwide, for whom the age fotostock name is a well-known brand with the prestige of one of the best and most varied collections in the world.

(*)Low Budget Royalty Free, is a collection of images priced at $20, $40, $60 and $80 per photograph. easyFotostock allows the purchaser to obtain an image quickly, without the hassle of pre-payment.

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