Like most of you, I assume, I watch the video of Gary Shenk , CEO of Corbis, at the Reuters Media Conference. Like most of you , I read comments about it almost everywhere, as it is one of the rare exquisite time when the privately-own company makes public comment on itself.
Here is what I heard and understood. Please correct me if I am wrong.
– Corbis launches free photo to use by bloggers. Using the Piccap application, still in private Beta and being tested with Getty Images as we saw on this blog earlier, I am surprise at the announcement. When you launch a product, usually, it is ready. Or available. This one is for exclusive members only. Furthermore, if you are an industry watcher, you would have already probably noticed that this is nothing new: Mochila has been providing this service for a while now, with images from Getty, AP, Zuma among many photo agencies. The difference here is that Corbis is on its own independent route. Very well.
But with revenues from advertising fees being split three way, what will the photographer see ? 30% of $0.01? Ouch ! Where are those SAA storm troopers when you need them ? Really, the only images Corbis could put up is some RF, including Snapvillage. How so very exciting for bloggers looking for the latest Paris Hilton? Red Carpet photographers beware !! After In Touch, here comes Corbis. Its the low pricing x huge volume theory again: The agency wins, not the photographer.
– Avatars of the world, Beware: Yes, Gary Shenk is very proud of his little gallery on Second Life.”the first in the industry” he says with a smile of a proud parent. We are all thrilled !!! What can I say more on that subject?
– The verge of profitability: Ya, ya, we know. We are still waiting. But here is the real killer part : “Shenk said the company was already profitable before accounting for nonrecurring costs, including some severance expenses and investments in its technology infrastructure. ” So, if you take out the cost of acquiring Veer, the cost of creating Snapvillage, the cost of the 300 people they had to fire ( imagine, not only they were useless when they worked there, but they even bring the company down when they are leaving. How unprofessional of them), and other “nonrecurring cost”, Corbis is making money. Hey, if I take off my nonrecurring costs, like buying my house, or paying for college inscription, or buying a car and more, I am a freakin’ billionaire !!! Nonrecurring costs are an integral part of doing business, not an option.
-” we are number one in editorial” : Where ? On what planet? I look at magazines here and international. I hardly see the Corbis credit. I would love to see the hard numbers to justify such a statement.
I think we would love to see some more down to heart reporting one of these days. If Corbis wasn’t own by Bill Gates, no own would ever accept such fantasy updates from any company. There is such an acceptance, in this industry, of Corbis spin message that no one, but me it seems, reacts. And what is this with Corbis being number 2 agency in the world ? Corbis is not profitable. That puts them in the bottom 10. Any agency can be number one if profit is not an issue.
JupiterImages is number two, and by far. It turns in a healthy profit.