September 2007 Archives
Today we announced that our Stockxpert.com microstock site is providing our "Xpert" contributors another way to distribute their photographs. I am not going to repeat what we are doing; the link describes what is happening. The key here is that Jupiterimages has more ways to service its contributing photographers and to appeal to the image buyer than any other image company. This new Dynamic Graphics "brand" for Stockxpert is unique. And it is just the beginning of a variety of ways we will be leveraging our growing Stockxpert brand.
We have more news coming on Stockxpert. Get ready for a subscription offering. Many readers know that Jupiterimages has the greatest expertise in offering images by subscription with such brands as Photos.com, Liquid Library and Jupiterimages Unlimited. In fact our competitors are still trying to figure out how to get into the subscription space successfully as we continue to lengthen our lead in an area that is most likely going to be a very significant portion of the future of the stock photo business. Now we will use this experience and leverage in the microstock field as well. More details to follow in a few days.
My colleague Luis Orellana found a post today that delves into some of my publishing history. I was early to the world of Virtual Reality. Erstwhile New York Times columnist William Safire wrote about VR back in 1992 and somehow yours truly ended up in his article.
I had a good run with VR with my old company, Mecklermedia from about 1992-1995. Today VR seems to be making a bit of a comeback.
Anyway it was nice to read this article once again and to bring back some pleasant memories.
Many readers know that The New York Times the other day announced that it would no longer have a subscription service for readers who want to read its Op-Ed columnists such as Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman.
The Times sent out the following email to subscribers:
Dear TimesSelect Subscriber,
We are ending TimesSelect, effective today.
The Times's Op-Ed and news columns are now available free of charge, along with Times File and News Tracker. In addition, The New York Times online Archive is now free back to 1987 for all of our readers.
Why the change?
Since we launched TimesSelect, the Web has evolved into an increasingly open environment. Readers find more news in a greater number of places and interact with it in more meaningful ways. This decision enhances the free flow of New York Times reporting and analysis around the world. It will enable everyone, everywhere to read our news and opinion - as well as to share it, link to it and comment on it.
Beginning today, we will issue refunds to our TimesSelect customers for the unused portion of their subscriptions. (The refund may take a few weeks to appear on your credit card, so please be patient.) If you need to update your billing information, please click here:
To thank you for your loyalty, we are offering you complimentary access to Times Reader from now through December 31, 2007. Times Reader is a digital version of The New York Times that looks just like the print version. It is normally offered for $169 annually, and is free to home delivery subscribers. (Please note that Times Reader is available for Windows only, though a version for Macintosh is planned.) For the duration of this complimentary offer, you also have access to our Premium Crosswords as well as the full online Archive, back to 1851. To download Times Reader, click here:
We thank you for your support of TimesSelect, and hope you continue to enjoy The New York Times in all its electronic and print forms.
For more information, including answers to frequently asked questions, click here:
To contact Customer Service, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Vice President & General Manager
Now we are waiting for the final decision from Rupert Murdoch, Dow Jones and News Corp. about what will happen to the Wall Street Journal subscription service. I am fairly certain that the decision will be similar to that of The Times. The main reason is simple: an open site means more visitors, more page views and greater revenue.
A blog post quoted me stating that there was a very real possibility that we will get into the celebrity image game.
The quote is accurate. We are potentially close to having a product, but we are still not 100 percent sure if and when it will launch. However if we go in this direction, we will attempt to make the offering "original" in comparison to what the competition offers.
Since we entered the stock photo arena back in 2003 we have been innovators. Therefore when and if we enter the celebrity arena you can be sure we will rattle the cages of the opposition. We invented the idea of wholly owned imagery, we were the first of the majors into microstock and the first into music. We will not be the first into "celebrity" but we will offer innovation (should we make the move).
There have been several stories this week that News Corp. might make WSJ.com a free site. Presently readers must pay a hefty subscription fee for the site. I have read that WSJ.com brings in over $65 million per year in subscription fees.
I questioned the Dow Jones decision to make WSJ.com a paid site back in 1998. Note too one of my many blog postings on this subject. My main point has been that a paid WSJ.com eliminated millions of readers from around the world who either could not afford the annual subscription fee or who refused to pay a fee.
Now Rupert Murdoch, the new owner, seems to be agreeing with these thoughts. The 19 September issue of the Wall Street Journal reported the following quote from Rupert Murdoch: "Would you lose $50 million in revenue? I don't think so....But you would lose some tens of millions to start with. Then, if the site is good, I think you'd get much more than that back just in textual search. And I think you'd get not one million paying customers, but around the world, you'd get 10 to 15 million regular hits on it, and that would be the most affluent, the most influential people in the world...And I think that would grow."
It has taken a few years, but I am pleased to see that someone like Rupert Murdoch understands my point of view. I always considered the Dow Jones position on a pure paid model to be ridiculous and basically anti-Internet. It appears Dow Jones, under new ownership, is finally entering the Internet age!
We are very excited to have announced a deal with publishishing giant Riverdeep to create an image subscription service for their Clickart/Broderbund division. We have helped Riverdeep create and operate an image subscription service around their ClickArt product line.
I believe we have a chance to develop this type of deal for a variety of organizations interested in selling images, clipart, animations and music with their own label.
We are one of the few companies in the world with vast operating experience in offering an ecommerce platform for digital content by subscription. Needless to say this unique ability is starting to be recognized by other organizations who might want to enter the subscription arena.
I think Ask.com is terrific! I think it was smart for IAC to purchase it a few years ago.
Recently the folks at Ask have been pushing a billboard and television ad campaign to stimulate readership. The billboard campaign was ridiculous. However the tv ads are terrific.
I doubt, however, that any ad will grow traffic to Ask. Our short Internet history has shown one thing: if a site cannot grow virally, it just will not grow.
The IAC management comes out of the old media tradition. While it has made terrific Web site purchases over the years, these ad campaigns seem to be coming from their old media training. I suggest they use the ad dollars for some more solid Web deals.
Catherine Pickavet of our InternetNews.Com reported yesterday that Virgin America and AirCell are bringing WiFi to the skies in 2008.
This is great news. Hopefully this means that many other air carriers will follow suit. Many readers know that Boeing's Connexion service failed in tests with several international carriers in 2005-2006.
Based on the ingenuity of Richard Branson and the smarts of Virgin Atlantic and its new Virgin America, I would be willing to bet that the new WiFi endeavor will be a winner.
And on the subject of the new Virgin America: I cannot wait to try the new airline on a trip from Los Angeles to New York. The VA interiors are supposed to be marvelous. The airfares are relatively cheap. At the very least I can be assured of a clean plane compared to some of the extremely tired bangers I find flying with Delta, American and United. I took a hiatus on travel for a few weeks this summer but I am now gearing up for a variety of trips in the USA and around the world.
The term midstock has suddenly appeared in the stock photo industry trade press.
I noticed that the stock photo company Lucky Oliver used the term earlier this year to denote pricing between $1 images (microstock) and traditional royalty free images at about $100.
Getty Images has just launched their Valueline product which is aimed at the supposed midstock market ($19 per image for Web resolution and $49 for all other resolutions).
Where does Jupiterimages stand on the midstock question? We doubt that current microstock customers are going to leave this tier and jump to midstock. Quality in microstock is only getting better, editing is tighter and image search is smarter. The microstock customer has nothing to gain from a quality perspective by paying more for images when they already fulfill their design needs for $1.
Furthermore we think that the entry point for the budget customer is with the best value today - which is subscription or microstock.
Given Jupiterimages' past efforts with subscriptions and microstock, we think we are well poised for now and the future as our myriad offerings are appealing to the budget customer and the high end custmer.
There is a paradigm shift taking place. We now have a market for high end Rights Managed and a bunch of RF offerings. However RF offerings will only be successful with creative economical pricing ranging from microstock to offerings such as our Jupiter Images Unlimited which offers great value for the very best RF images.
As for midstock, I think it is a concept whose time "has not come." In other words the midstock price point is really too expensive for the evolving stock photo market place. Midstock sounds exciting but it might already be dead.
Business writer Joe Nocera of The New York Times had an article in The New York Times on Saturday about how he could no longer justify keeping his Treo 700p smartphone due to numerous technical problems.
Nocera is a great writer. Always good analysis. In this article he lashes out at Palm using the Times as a bully pulpit to punish Palm for his frustration.
I too had huge problems with a few Treo models which I posted about in June of 2005. In March of 2006 I switched to an 8700 BlackBerry by RIM. I loved the 8700 and am now even more in love with my 8300 BlackBerry Curve which I purchased in June 2007.
As smart as Nocera is, I am really puzzled that it took him so long to figure out that the Treo is a flawed device. I got rid of mine because it "froze" several times per day not to mention that earlier Treos had terrible speaker problems.
Nocera mentions that he has considered getting a BlackBerry but that the phone aspect of the BlackBerry "is barely adequate." I beg to differ. I have used my BlackBerry phone all over the world and around the United States and have found the phone to be superior to the Treo phone in every measurement.
Yesterday I spent a good part of the day meeting with mutual and hedge funds managers at the Kauffman Brothers LP Technology Conference in New York City.
Every session revolves around the question "so what is the future of the stock photo industry?"
My answer is always the same: "The stock photo business is a good one but revenues, while they can grow, they cannot grow as rapidly as they did a few years ago."
Both Getty Images and Jupiterimages now have to deal with microstock and the glut of RF images that have come to market through the microstock revolution.
Interestingly both of our companies are working hard and launching new product lines and pricing plans to combat the microstock revolution. We have been pushing our Jupiter Images Unlimited and Getty has created a new Valueline product and announced some new pricing plans for Web sales. Perhaps all of these new concepts will be successful and perhaps not? Both companies are working from a strong base of continuing sales and profits. Over time there is an excellent chance that both of us (with our solid foundations) will be able to create new product lines and pricing plans and packages that bring positive news for the stock photo industry. In the meantime we are both very profitable and resourceful.
Needless to say this post has been written without checking with anybody over at Getty Images!