April 2007 Archives
Recent posts have mentioned coming changes to our network of Web sites now known as JupiterWeb. We are a few weeks away from unveiling the new design and total overhaul. But in a few days we will launch a new version of site search for our online media division. The new search is based on Google Enterprise software.
It has been an exciting few weeks getting the new search activated. We are dropping Autonomy search software which has powered our search function since 1998. The whole Google experience has been excellent. I have been amazed how responsive Google has been to our questions. Google has jumped on any tech integration problems - we could not be more pleased.
Of course we need to see the finished product in action to really know if the change is a success. Based on what we know right now, Google Enterprise search should be a winner for Jupitermedia.
Andrew Kantor used to work for me at Mecklermedia. We hired him to cover the Internet way back in 1995. Andrew was one of the few writers at that time that understood the Net. In fact he was so good the CBS News Show 60 Minutes featured Andrew and Leslie Stahl on a lengthy segment about the Internet.
I had lost track of Andrew but was pleased to see him in service with USA Today on Friday. His column is good reading. It was nice too to be mentioned by Andrew.
One day I hope to host a gathering of all the folks who worked at Mecklermedia in the early to mid-90s who early on believed in our Internet dreams when many thought we were crazy.
After a few days in Japan, Australia and Los Angeles last week, I got back to home base only to be on the road again with visits yesterday to our office in Peoria, Illinois and today in Ottawa, Canada.
Morale is terrific around the world and across the USA. Our image colleagues certainly sense that our images division is on the march with new programs and progress in taking market share. Our online media division is also on the move with several initiatives about to be unveiled. I have written about how we are planning on growing the online media division. Lots of hard work has gone into software, design, acquisitions and additional employees. It will take a few more months for all of this to come together but those who work in this area have the feeling that the "fields are about to have some nice crops coming in."
Jupitermedia is the proud owner of Animation Factory. Yesterday this terrific Web site that offers one of the largest collections of 3D flash animations in the world (by subscription) launched Animation Factory Pro.
AF Pro is unique and perfect for the fast changing world of Web designers. The Pro version expands our services to professional video, flash and multi-media producers. Pro offers high definition backgrounds, special video elements and alpha channels for compositing in video or flash animations, flash Web site templates and a library of sound effects and music loops. We are also busily converting items on our regular animation factory library to be used in the Pro format.
Animation Factory Pro is now the largest royalty free shop in the world for all animations, from highly compressed animations for Web and mobile, to studio quality high definition video for professional television and video producers.
And a word for the fine people who made this possible. Our AF team is based on Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Our AF colleagues work endlessly to make Animation Factory one of the best digital content services in the world. Combined with our tech team which is based throughout the world, Jupitermedia was able to to create the new AF Pro while maintaining the already smooth operating Animation Factory. We love working with these people.
AF Pro is just another service that makes Jupiterimages so different from our competitors. And sometime in 2008 when we launch the Jupiter SuperStore, AF Pro and everything else we have will be avialable on one platform. I cannot wait for the SuperStore as I have been thinking and dreaming of this product since 2003.
In the meantime, we are continuing to develop, add and acquire services and content that makes Jupiterimages unique for designers around the world.
I had a busy day in Sydney visiting with our dynamic image team. Our image business had a good year in 2006 and 2007 is looking promising down under. We are scoring well with the editorial side of images in Australia and have added some native Australian RF images that make us appealing to commercial image buyers. Jupiterimages in Australia offers a great lineup of imagery for this market.
I try to get to Sydney every six months. It is a long way to travel but I feel it important to visit with all of our employees as often as possible. Even a few solid hours can lead to invaluable dialogue with colleagues which cannot be achieved via email and telephone.
One bummer today was the worldwide BlackBerry outage. I stopped getting email earlier in the day and then found out that RIM was having prolems worldwide. It is amazing how much one can get addicted to a Blackberry and almost continuous email.
I have been a world traveler for 30 years or more and a day like today reminds me of pre-Internet days when communication back to the home office was perhaps one end of the day phone call.
Another thought today is about newspaper size - something I have mentioned many times in this space. Reading the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal leads me to believe that in the next 10 years the USA edition of the WSJ might be a small tabloid and about 32 pages. Perhaps this will be only 5 years out?
I also find it interesting to read about the DoubleClick deal with Google. It will be interesting to see how Google uses DoubleClick. Many are worried about some type of advertising delivery monopoly here. I tend to think that there will be many more iterations of ad delivery in coming years that what we have today will not be the norm in coming years. I believe there is still opportunity for new ways of delivering ads and that we do not need to fear a Google monopoly. Most likely this puts me in the minority.
I am just finishing 24 hours in Japan visiting with image partners and also our team that operates Japan.Internet.Com here in Tokyo. We have a 51% interest in this most interesting business which was started back in 1998.
In the last year or so Japan.Internet.Com has been growing rapidly. Similar to what we are doing in the United States, our Japanese version of Internet.com is adding features this year. This is a much smaller online media business than Internet.com in the USA, but it is growing rapidly. Last year it grew about 30% with nice profits and we hope it can match that growth this year.
This Japanese property is a small gem that gets lost in the shuffle of investor pundits studying the tiniest bits of our image division. I presume our investors will start watching the growth of this property?
We have made a significant investment in wholly owned royalty free images over the past few years. Because we own and produce such a high volume of quality images, we are able to create innovative packages to meet our customers' increasing needs for imagery, access and pricing flexibility. In addition to being the world-leader in royalty free subscription services, we have recently launched an exciting new ofering called BYCOD (Build Your Own CD). This program allows customers to select exactly the images that they need from our vast RF collections.
Since Royalty Free (RF) CDs first appeared over a decade ago, customers have been requesting the option to select the images that they would like for their custom CD, versus the industry practice of purcashing a CD of pre-selected images. Historically, studies and surveys have shown that customers use an average of 2 to 5 images from a typical CD of 100 images. This makes purchasing a traditional RF CD a good investment for customers that use high resolution images, but is still leaves a large number of images that go unused.
With the average cost of a high resolution RF image over $300, the idea of allowing a customer to select the images that they want in order to create their own custom CD has always been cost prohibitive. At retail costs, 100 customer-selected images at $300 would be $30,000. Even 10 images would cost $3,000, which is more than most unlimited subscription offerings. The fear in the industry has been that lowering the costs to make this an affordable option would cannibalize single image sales.
Our new BYOCD program offers the ability to build custom CDs of 10, 25, 50 or 100 images with prices from $20 to $50 per image. Customers are now able to access quality stock images produced by professional photographers at a fraction of their retail price. This continues our efforts to provide alternative and interesting image solutions to the creative market place.
We continue to innovate and revolutionize the stock photo industry.
We are very excited about developments with our new Web Video Summit tradeshow slated for late June in San Jose. Excited enough in fact to have just scheduled a fall version for this year. The dates for our fall Web Video Summit are December 10-11 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
None of this could happen without the visionary help of Dave Burstein (of DSL Prime fame) who has created a fabulous inaugural program for the June show and will for sure create and even better program for the fall event. Hats off to Dave!
Limelight is one of the larger content delivery network players in the digital market place. We are also fortunate that Mike Gordon, co-founder of Limelight will be one of our featured speakers at Web Video Summit.
Keep watching my posts for developments with Web Video Summit.
Steve Kapsinow posted today about working at the Stockxpert booth at PhotoShopWorld. This post goes hand in glove with me earlier post of today.
Steve by the way does a number of terrific things at Jupiterimages. But he is fast becoming known as chief evangelist to our exploding Stockxpert community of photographers and users worldwide.
Shortly we will announce our first world meeting of "Xperts". This will be free to anyone interested in meeting and learning more about the world of "Xperts."
Stockxpert is on the rise thanks to people like Steve and of course the thousands of users and contributors.
We exhibited our micropayment Web site Stockxpert at PhotoShop World in Boston this week.
The response to our team and most importantly the product was overwhelming. Our Stockxpert is not nearly as well known as other micropayment brands, but we are growing very rapidly. Also going to exhibitions such as Photoshop World helps grow awareness (and after three days of exhibiting we know we scored big time on obtaining mindshare with the right kind of buyer). Of course we are doing other forms of online and print marketing to grow awareness and sales indicate this is working.
Now that we own Stockxpert (we obtained control at the end of 2006) we are accelerating not only marketing but also the technology side. For example our servers are in the process of being moved from Hungary to our facility in Peoria, Illinois and when the Peoria servers are turned on (later this month) the speed of Stockxpert will be significantly better. Founder Peter Hamza has been relieved of many smaller tasks of managing the site so he can now concentrate on adding numerous features to Stockxpert. Stockfootage will soon be avialable and we have a few other new offerings coming during the rest of the year.
On my next post I will address the many community changes and addditions we are making on Stockxpert and its sister site SXC.hu.
Ron Rovtar over at Stock Asylum tracked me down in Europe last week and we arranged for an interview. The result was posted today.
Much of what is posted has been covered in some of my recent posts. But Ron did some pushing and probing so there are a few new revelations. Regardless, the bottom line is that Jupiterimages is alive and well. We have lots of confidence in our new programs backed by a terrific creative team that give us the fuel to compete and grow the business.
On top of all this I think we are very Internet savvy - more so than most. What this means is that success is not only due to solid content. To compete today a company needs to understand community and how to use the Web beyond the basics. Hopefully we understand all these factors.
I am excited about developments at Jupitermedia. Of course I cannot guarantee financial results, but I do see some nice things happening on both the online media division front and the images front. There are not many times during the year I can buy shares, but last week I picked up a few thousand shares for my Roth IRA. I had not purchased shares for a few years. I am not suggesting that anyone buy our shares, but I wanted readers to know my recent move.
Just wanted to let readers know that our Web Video Summit trade show coming in June in San Jose got some welcome news on Friday.
Adobe agreed to be the major sponsor of the event. We are proud to be associated with Adobe on this new event. While adding a sponsor does not necessarily equal success, it is a positive validation that we have a new trade show that has traction.
We have some more news coming on the exhibition front for some of our other shows and I should post about this shortly.
I just returned from a quick trip to some of our UK and French offices.
I was thrilled to find that our colleagues in the UK and France are very much focused on making Jupiterimages stronger than ever. I was so pleased to have the support of these important players after the downer they all faced by the potential Getty Images deal. March brought us excellent sales results led by the strong growth of our JupiterImagesUnlimited product which is just starting to take off in Europe.
It was interesting to see our new London office that we just opened in the SOHO district. We have a terrific team of creative professionals that are focused on further building out our vast image production in the UK and Europe.
Our Paris office is thriving. The French were not sure about JupiterImagesUnlimited but in the previous few weeks they have sold several large multi-seat license deals and the sales team now believes in the validity of JIU.
I am making a point of visiting every office in the next few weeks. Including a trip back to Europe and one to our offices in Japan and Australia. The process of visiting all of our offices is lengthy (25 in 8 countries). While it takes a few weeks to get everywhere the vibrations from team members in offices not visited to date are very strong.
In the meantime the whole Jupiterimages team knows that our product lineup is working in the marketplace and this gives them even greater motivation to produce and sell.
My travels allow me to reflect on all aspects of Jupitermedia. One gets time to do lots of reading on the longhaul flights. I came up with several new trade show ideas which I hope to turn into events before the end of the year.
I also noticed the continuing shrinkage of newspapers. The Guardian in England is now printed in a quasi tabloid format (quite original). Now that The Wall Street Journal has shrunk I expect all newspapers will continue to get smaller and smaller as the Internet becomes the pre-eminent way in which people get their news.
And this brings me to the folding of IDG's INFOWORLD print weekly. As an aside read an interview with IDG founder Pat McGovern pointed out to me by our west coast editor David Needle. I believe I saw the death of tech trade publications before anyone else. In fact in 1996 my old company turned our WEB DEVELOPER (our means Mecklermedia) into a Web site. At that time the "joke" was that we could not make it as a print publisher. I protested. I stated that the future for tech was online and turned the magazine into a Web site. It would not surprise me to see several other IDG titles fold along with the few remaining Ziff Davis print titles as well as some from CMP.