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Stock Imagery: Winds of Change

(July 2010) posted on Fri Jul 16, 2010

Image providers are helping users create more effective messages.


By Kacey King

click an image below to view slideshow

PhotoSpin: We only offer royalty-free images. Each type of image has its advantage, however. Rights-managed will have an image history associated with it. Thus, these types of images are better used for a branding image—an image that a specific company will be associated with for years. This is an image you do not want your competition to have access to. The cost of these images is greater, but you, as the advertiser, can be in control of that image for a period of time. Royalty free is just that—no additional royalties. Typically less expensive to use, these images are still very high in quality and, in many cases, because the royalty-free collections are larger collections, a bigger variety or selection is available for the customer to choose from.

iStockphoto: Microstock opened the floodgates to people who never could have purchased stock previously.

Fotolia: Fotolia’s focus has always been royalty-free. Even our Infinite Collection, which features contributions from some of the most well-known agencies and artists in the world, has royalty-free licensing. While rights-managed has its niche, most buyers are looking to purchase and download images that they have flexibility using. One of Fotolia’s competitive advantages is our usage licenses because they are fairly liberal. Between our standard and extended licenses, users have the ability to download and use images in as many copies as they need, for as long as they need, and without geographical restrictions. By keeping our usage fairly open-ended, it’s challenging to track where all the images are being used. But, we get feedback from contributors who are excited to have seen their work in a magazine, commercial, or on a billboard.

Have you seen an increase in stock-image buyers?
Corbis: The number of consumers of stock imagery has gone up significantly. Because of the ready availability of microstock images, and the fact that lots of companies are building websites and getting more market savvy, the amount of people that need imagery has gone up significantly. From an industry standpoint, we expect the volume of the [microstock] business to grow 10 percent year over year.

Dreamstime: There are more and more buyers acquiring stock than ever before. Some are newcomers to the market, some are replacing more expensive custom imagery with convenient, high-quality stock photography.


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