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Phil Robinson

Is distribution necessary?

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I tend to agree, alamy has the whip hand here- so even if they retain distributors there is a solid argument to renegotiate their commission so that the photog gets at least 40%.

 

Seems to me that the distributors are benefiting financially and through retaining their customers much more than alamy is.

 

My last two sales have been healthy sums but through distributors- nevertheless alamy doesn't need them

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Phil Robinson.

 

I think most people feel the same when they see a good sale then realise it's via a distributor and they lose a painful amount in commission. The argument is that it gets extra sales that wouldn't have gone to Alamy. But is that true?

 

Alamy now has 50m images and, thanks to Alamy, so do all its distributors. Customers go to the distributors because they know they can find 50m Alamy images there - so they don't go direct to Alamy.

 

The internet is global, that's sort of the point of it. The picture-buying market is mostly English-speaking, because photographers and agencies alike know that English is the global language and they have a much better chance of finding the image they want if they search in English. Keyword translation DOES NOT WORK.

 

Why does the world's biggest image collection need distributors? if these distributors around the world lost Alamy's 50m images, they would lose most of their customers too - who would know that Alamy is just a mouse click away.

 

Prices are plummeting because of competition. But a lot of that is agencies competing against themselves with THE SAME IMAGES. If you can find and buy the same picture at three different places, you are going to negotiate the cheapest price between them. 

 

The only winners are the customer and the small libraries who, without acting as agents, would probably go out of business, leaving a smaller number of agents competing against each other on the quality of their collection. We all know who the losers are.

 

+1 Phil,  a good question, with such a large collection, great discounts, 90 day accounts, and more,  Alamy would do better for themselves and it's contributors to make themselves a household name on most publishing desks world wide.  

 

As you said Alamy is more or less1 click away, we know as contributors Alamy has a very efficient/ fast data base,  as a (photo editor) or buyer what more could one want. AND TO BOOT 30,000 NEW IMAGES DAILY

 

I would be very happy to see the end of distribution and receive that extra percentage that distributors take from us all.

 

"Alamy"  is distribution necessary?  when you are so mighty and getting mightier every day.

 

Paul.

Edited by Paul Mayall
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Guest

I think most people feel the same when they see a good sale then realise it's via a distributor and they lose a painful amount in commission. The argument is that it gets extra sales that wouldn't have gone to Alamy. But is that true?

 

Alamy now has 50m images and, thanks to Alamy, so do all its distributors. Customers go to the distributors because they know they can find 50m Alamy images there - so they don't go direct to Alamy.

 

The internet is global, that's sort of the point of it. The picture-buying market is mostly English-speaking, because photographers and agencies alike know that English is the global language and they have a much better chance of finding the image they want if they search in English. Keyword translation DOES NOT WORK.

 

Why does the world's biggest image collection need distributors? if these distributors around the world lost Alamy's 50m images, they would lose most of their customers too - who would know that Alamy is just a mouse click away.

 

Prices are plummeting because of competition. But a lot of that is agencies competing against themselves with THE SAME IMAGES. If you can find and buy the same picture at three different places, you are going to negotiate the cheapest price between them. 

 

The only winners are the customer and the small libraries who, without acting as agents, would probably go out of business, leaving a smaller number of agents competing against each other on the quality of their collection. We all know who the losers are.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Image buying is not global, you are forgetting that local (national) business often has different regimes for accounts, they cannot buy in every local currency off the home site. How many Mandarin speaking sales staff do Alamy have on the home site? Multiply that by quite a few significant languages...... How would a Korean, not all speak English BTW, negotiate the rights on images....? Does it matter, sure does...having sold many images including 'All advertising rights to Korea's Standard Chartered', I am very happy to confirm the merits of local agencies.

 

IME, the greatest returns, by far, are from the agencies who have the widest distribution networks in stock, it's been that way for years and continues to be so.....

 

Oh and BTW, Alamy is not the biggest image collection...GI for example has over 80 million and still sees the need to have delegate agencies in many territories....they even distribute via major competitors like Corbis.

 

Prices go down because of attracting market share, basic undercutting...plenty of agencies do it within territories.

Edited by Guest

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Also some good Greenie points, Geoff. +1  :)

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I accept the point about languages for negotiating purposes - though a little less negotiation on prices might be welcomed by some - but Getty distributing through Corbis? Lunacy. And if the deal they struck makes sense for them, you can be sure it doesn't for the photographers.

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I accept the point about languages for negotiating purposes - though a little less negotiation on prices might be welcomed by some - but Getty distributing through Corbis? Lunacy. And if the deal they struck makes sense for them, you can be sure it doesn't for the photographers.

 

I'm sorry Phil but the evidence is quite the opposite. The commercial agencies return the most to photographers, generally by quite some distance. They are distributed to all the majors plus maybe 200 others.

 

Getty have had images on various large agencies for years, there used to be Getty collections on Alamy at one point. The Ocean collection on Corbis is a mix of Getty collections - I've sold work with Getty via Corbis.

 

Negotiation is not just about price, it's about rights, it's about business accounts, it's about local taxation.... it's about doing business.

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I accept the point about languages for negotiating purposes - though a little less negotiation on prices might be welcomed by some - but Getty distributing through Corbis? Lunacy. And if the deal they struck makes sense for them, you can be sure it doesn't for the photographers.

 

The commercial agencies return the most to photographers, generally by quite some distance. 

 

 

Do you mean amounts or percentages?

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Guest

 

 

I accept the point about languages for negotiating purposes - though a little less negotiation on prices might be welcomed by some - but Getty distributing through Corbis? Lunacy. And if the deal they struck makes sense for them, you can be sure it doesn't for the photographers.

 

The commercial agencies return the most to photographers, generally by quite some distance. 

 

 

Do you mean amounts or percentages?

 

 

Money not percentage. The latter means little compared to frequency of sales/volumes of sales.

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Except if you made the same number of sales direct, you'd get more money. If a distribution network somehow increases the size of the market - selling more pictures for everyone - it might be preferable. In fact what it does, as far as I can see, is increase the percentage of fees going to agents on the same number of sales. 

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As I see it, a distribution network may not increase the size of the market (although I can think of ways it might even do that), but it seems to have certainly helped put my images in front of buyers who may not have otherwise seen them. Asia is where I appear to have benefited most.

 

dd

Edited by dustydingo

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I don't know if distribution is necessary, but it's inevitable IMO given the size of the Alamy beast and the nature of the Web.

 

Interestingly enough, my distributor sales have been declining. Most leases this year have been directly (sorry, I don't do "direct") through Alamy. Not sure why that is, but I ain't complainin'.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I accept the point about languages for negotiating purposes - though a little less negotiation on prices might be welcomed by some - but Getty distributing through Corbis? Lunacy. And if the deal they struck makes sense for them, you can be sure it doesn't for the photographers.

 

I'm sorry Phil but the evidence is quite the opposite. The commercial agencies return the most to photographers, generally by quite some distance. They are distributed to all the majors plus maybe 200 others.

 

Getty have had images on various large agencies for years, there used to be Getty collections on Alamy at one point. The Ocean collection on Corbis is a mix of Getty collections - I've sold work with Getty via Corbis.

 

Negotiation is not just about price, it's about rights, it's about business accounts, it's about local taxation.... it's about doing business.

 

 

+1

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Surely the bottom line is Alamy's business model. They are in a position to assess whether distributors add value to their business. They have seen the need to open local offices in the USA and Germany which would suggest that local representation increases sales. Languages, taxes exchange control, competition, politics etc will undoubtably also influence their decision.

 

dov

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Surely the bottom line is Alamy's business model. They are in a position to assess whether distributors add value to their business. They have seen the need to open local offices in the USA and Germany which would suggest that local representation increases sales. Languages, taxes exchange control, competition, politics etc will undoubtably also influence their decision.

 

dov

 

I agree. I also agree that opening local offices abroad is a much better way (from the photographers' point of view at least) to increase sales. I do, however, realise that opening offices in 200-300 countries is perhaps impractical.

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Hello everybody,

 

Does somebody know if all images in your portfolio are mirrored by the distributors or are they selected? Just a simple thought......

 

Mirco

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I had my first distributor sale last month and was jumping for joy at the size of the sale until I saw what was left over after the distribution. A case can be made for an equal three way split but the photographer should never be left in a minority position with the distributor earning significantly more. I understand they have costs but so does the photographer. The image in question, and many of my other images require significant travel time and costs.

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I fully agree first post and wanted to give greeny. Why can't I do this? No arrows here...

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I find distribution a great thing. I life in Poland and besides the clients that Alamy has in Poland directly there are some other agencies in Poland that clients are using. I wanted to upload to them also since i have lots of Polish subjects. But then i found out that they are in the distribution list of Alamy so i decided to not submit directly to them but through Alamy. I know i will loose a part of revenue like that BUT the plus points are that i only need to submit to one 1 agency Alamy and my images are on the same time on the 4 Polish agencies. It saves me lots of time. 

 

At the end we all can choose anyway to opt in or out. 

 

Mirco

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I have mixed feelings about distribution.

 

  • I ABSOLUTELY HATE the watered down commissions - especially when I know many picture researchers also do a google image search to see where else that image is offered and they shop accordingly.  I don't blame them because if I were int their position, I would do the same exact thing.
  • Distribution oftentimes is counter-productive to rights management.  If I were to land one of those "big elephent" exclusive rights big dollar licenses at another agent, and I set restrictions on the image at Alamy, there is no guarantee or control on my end that the image is still available for licensing at a distributor.
  • I recognize there are opportunities that come up via distributors that don't come up via Alamy...and that is an advantage
  • I recognize that each agency has a different ranking system so images may be pushed to buyers in a manner that is more advantageous to me
  • I recognize that using a distributor network is a back door for getting my work into agencies that may have a higher sales volume (i.e. the big 'C' or the big 'G')

 

At the moment I have images spread throughout the globe in various distribution schemes through various non-exclusive agents.  I don't know if that's a good strategy or not....at Alamy, I've only had one distributor sale this year.  My highest dollar license this year was through a sub-distributor of another agent (highest dollar being net to me overall) so I'm not giving it up.

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