The most common comment we hear from image sellers is that editing down image and image set numbers, and adding explanatory folder names, to make their feeds easier to work with is a ”no brainer”. The reason being that their images now jump the queue to be the first that photo editors look at, and photo editors are far less likely to miss the most saleable images. In some cases it has made the difference between daily image feeds being looked at or ignored completely.
Core Celeb helps customers get better value from their subscriptions. Photo buyers may be paying for a subscription, but they don’t subscribe to getting a bloated incoherent feed of images that takes up all morning to work through. Alerts, which pick out the best images, make life even easier for subscription buyers, by cherry picking the best of the best . Frustration at the volume of imagery is one reason subscriptions are seen as second class options, become under-utilised and eventually cancelled. When image feeds are bloated, opportunities are created for other photo agencies to make sales by offering images that the subscriber couldn’t, or didn’t have time to find. Every such sale is another reason for a subscription to be cancelled. Delivering a coherent, relevant feed, and alerts keeps subscribers happy and photo agencies profitable.
Staff who sell images need to know what new images have arrived every bit as much as photo editors, probably more. Wading through bloated, poorly-organised image feeds is just as time-consuming and confusing whichever side of the photo desk you’re sitting on. The delay in working out what is available for sale is time taken away from the sales effort, and if there are numerous sales staff, this loss of time is multiplied. Think how much more efficient it would be if your sales staff came into work and had a full knowledge of what was available within a few minutes of sitting down, including the very best images identified in a series of alerts which could already have been sent to buyers. There is nothing better than arriving at work to be contacted by photo editors who have already found the images they want.
They are positive about the convenience and time saving Core Celeb provides. Since the number of images began to explode with the advent of digital cameras, photo editors have found increasing amounts of their time spent just churning through the huge numbers of images sent to them, and/or looking at web sites. Anything which makes it easier to find the images they want in record time, is a Godsend.
As a rule of thumb, it is usual to compress the size of the morning feeds by 50-70% without losing any relevant content. Hourly feeds during the news day are likely to be reduced by 20-50%. Exactly how much photo agencies want their feed paired back is up to them, and circumstances vary from agency to agency.
Core Celeb’s service can run alongside existing image distribution systems, or replace them – either way no images need to be lost. Any images that don’t make the cut for a particular market may end up included in a feed suitable for another market or time zone. Everything else can be made available on web sites, and/or be sent to aggregators such as IDS, Newscom and Picturemaxx. The aim is maximise the first wave of sales, while leaving image buyers with options to find even more content later.
Because the service is 24/7, the service can be optimised to meet clients’ needs, editing content specifically to appeal to major markets in each part of the world. Typically feeds and alerts service the UK, Western Europe, US East Coast, US West Coast and Australia.
Meaningful folder names help photo editors quickly find the images they want, promoting image sales. Our experience is that folder names often come in from contributors with overly-brief and idiosyncratic names which obscure the content of the folders, requiring publishers to spend time opening up images to see what the folders contain. These folder names can be, instead, turned into meaningful labels which make it easy for photo editors to find what they want, or spark their interest in something they might otherwise overlook. So a folder called “Latest Bev Hills”, could turn into “Angelina Jolie Car Crash Beverly Hills”.
Pricing is worked out on a case by case basis to keep the cost reasonable regardless of the size of the photo agency. In general terms, each folder sent to be made up in a focused image feed costs a few cents, with reasonable minimum fees for each feed Core Celeb sends out in an overnight and/or hourly cycle. Alerts are charged individually, with opportunities for budget caps or time limits such as one image alert per hour or 50 per day.
No, not at all. Alerts can be sent out while production is still being processed, if the system is organised in the right way, getting ahead of the game. for the mass of images, Core Celeb can provide a parallel feed, which will arrive a little later than the bulk feed, making no difference to previous delivery frameworks. Services can also be provided within an image workflow so that publishers receive only well-edited, relevant images. In deciding between these approaches, it needs to be considered what value there is in spewing out images slightly faster if the resulting pile of folders isn’t being looked at. The more relevant and concise feed, meanwhile, can jump the queue because buyers find that preferable to look at.
Just the reverse, because the image feeds and alerts are easier to look though. As a result, the best image sets and individual images are simpler to find.
A small number of photo agencies have tried using automatic filters, however this is rather a blunt tool which can automatically cause more problems than it solves. The big problem is that celebrity news pictures cover many different people and topics. Automatic systems tend to filter on certain keywords – normally categories such as sports, celebrity, news, by time, or by geographic region. However, it is very easy for a picture of a celebrity at a sports game to go into the wrong category, or for say a celebrity from America to go to Germany, and be cut out of the feed. Such systems also rely on the primary metadata – captions and keywords – to be accurate and to carry all relevant information, which they rarely do. Those sorts of nuances can be easily overcome by humans, but not by dumb automatic filters. Automatic filters also find it difficult to pick out images that look best/most newsworthy.
The graphics-laden web pages have their place but they are more time consuming to look through. Graphics take time to draw and redraw, and leaping ahead to the good stuff is difficult without using an advanced search, or relying on what the aggregator might have made the unilateral decision to highlight as the most important news. Plus, in many cases the best and most up-to-date images are sent directly, with the aggregators receiving the images later or not at all. Indeed, the fact that photo agencies send their images directly to clients shows that they have only limited faith in using web sites.
The unfortunate truth is that photo agency staff are increasingly hard pressed, and just don’t have time, especially if they are focused on making sales. Core Celeb staff are experienced in knowing what are the current celebrity stories, who is famous and what images are relevant to particular markets. What’s more, they provide services 24/7, when sales staff are often asleep, getting to work, or too busy doing actual sales to be able to edit down image feeds.