Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Shutterstock to issue press passes

Shutterstock has decided to join the big boys (Getty etc) and help its contributors get press passes to events. In return for assistance in getting the press pass, the contributor must agree to a 2 year exclusive deal with Shutterstock. This only seems fair.

What this does however, is shift the goal posts. Photos like this have traditionally been sold for large amounts. Time will tell whether Shutterstock can create the volume of sales to justify this from a business perspective (though I must admit that the thought of getting special access to events may make it worthwhile regardless – at least initially).

The big question is how will Getty and the like respond. Their photographers are use to getting big bucks for these and soon, the magazines will be able to get a full edition filled with just one shutterstock subscription. They cant try and block shutterstock securing passes as this will be seen as anticompetitive behaviour. Getty’s biggest ally may be the event themselves as they might not like photos from their event being sold for so little.

The practicalities have also to be sorted out. Big events like say the MTV awards may get lots of applications. Shutterstock will only be able to secure a few passes at the most so they will only support the contributors that have the right gear and the experience. As such, for the majority of the contributors, this new scheme might not apply.

It will also be interesting to see how this applies to countries other than the US. Will the photos generate enough downloads (since US is the biggest market) for them to help out those in other countries??

Note that at this stage, they will not be providing general passes and will be reviewing it on a case by case basis. As far as other companies go, iStock currently issues business cards to exclusive members but these dont carry any official backing from them. It will be interesting to see how iStock respond as thier hands may be tied by their owner, Getty. Scoopt (also owned by Getty) sells celebrity shots but these are "one off" shots where Getty's photographers are not around.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. In the mean time, here is their press release:

Shutterstock on the Red Carpet™

New York, New York—June 5, 2007—No more velvet ropes—at least not for Shutterstock® photographers. Shutterstock®, the world’s largest subscription-based stock photo agency, today announced the debut of a new program: Shutterstock on the Red Carpet. Working directly with its submitting photographers—a global network that exceeds 60,000—the company will work to facilitate the acquisition of coveted press passes, whether at film premieres, award shows, concerts or political rallies. While taking steps to secure preferred access for its photographers, Shutterstock will expand its library of celebrity images, a popular category among buyers. Shutterstock on the Red Carpet is the first such program to launch in the stock photography industry and represents an unprecedented level of support by an agency for its photographers.

Shutterstock is already a go-to source for the creative community: with a photo library numbering almost two million premium images, it has photographs and vectors in categories ranging from people and animals/wildlife to business and science. With Shutterstock on the Red Carpet, the company is positioning itself to be a leading resource for the entertainment/celebrity sector as well. As for photographers, the benefits are obvious: they will be positioned to take photographs that are almost guaranteed to sell well on the site.

“At Shutterstock we are very aware that our success is tied to the caliber of our photo library, and for that we are indebted to our photographers,” said Jon Oringer, Founder and CEO of Shutterstock. “If there’s something we can do to help them get the best, most desirable photographs, we’re going to do it. Shutterstock on the Red Carpet came from that kind of thinking—and we wish our photographers well on the red carpet!”

Shutterstock on the Red Carpet™: How it Works
Photographers work directly with a Shutterstock customer service representative to expedite the press pass application process—these representatives are available via email at presspass@shutterstock.com. Each event requires different information to issue a press pass, so Shutterstock asks that photographers be as specific as possible about their needs. There is a form online at http://submit.shutterstock.com/redcarpet.pdf ; photographers must fill out one per event and a Shutterstock Support staffer will respond within 24 hours. In return for enlisting Shutterstock’s press pass acquisition services and increasing their potential earnings by taking photos in a much-downloaded category, photographers must agree to sell resulting images exclusively at Shutterstock. (Note: these photos must meet the same standards of quality to be added to the site as would any other submission).blockquote>

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