Boy, whoever said it couldn't get worse didn't have a grasp on reality. Doritos sponsored a contest to create a commercial in which the winner gets theirs run during the Superbowl, which cost Doritos $2 million dollars. How much does Five Point Productions (that's them on the right shilling even more for Doritos) say it cost them? $12.79. The Dorito's Crash the Superbowl contest stipulates you:
“…irrevocably grant… perpetual right and permission to copyright …exhibit and/or otherwise use or reuse (without limitation as to when or to the number of times used), the Entrant's name, address, image, voice, likeness, statements, biographical material and Submission…as well as any additional photographic images, video images, portraits, interviews or other materials relating to the … in any media throughout the world for any purpose, without limitation, and without additional review, compensation, or approval from the Entrant or any other party.Nice. That basically means, you enter, we own you. No additional money for you for this. Ever. Remember the Wassup Guys? They’re in the ranks of rarely seen also-ran actors. Last seen? In a commercial for Dr. Scholl’s “Are you Gellin” campaign. Woo Hoo.
Does $12.79 really reflect the cost of the video? Absolutely not. Superbowl ads usually run upwards of $1 million to produce. $12.79 is probably the cost of the MiniDV tape and the bags of chips they used in the video. What about the time of the five guys? Is that an "in kind" donation to the project? How about the costs to rent the cameras, or the amortization of them over their useful life? Costs of the audio equipment used? Costs of the computers and editing software? Gas costs for the cars? Oh, and if you watch the commercial, there's an accident in there. What about vehicle repair costs? Oh, and one more thing -- they would have had to pay for a permit to be on the grounds of the stadium that is in the background of the shot. They were tresspassing when they made the commercial. As my good friend and talented photographer Michael Spilotro says, "clearly they're giving away the farm for a shot at success that they'll never have in the end."
Ok, so, how's about this? Think iStockphoto's going to do well? Well, think again. The Dreamstime folks think that photos should be free. That one on the left? Taken in Antarctica? Yeah, free. And, downloaded, it'a an 8.5MB file, not just screen resolution, and last I checked, 313 people have downloaded it for free (make that 314). Just as in traditional store-fronts, this is called a "loss leader", but you're loosing. A loss-leader for a store means that the store eats the price of the product they purchased to get you in the door. The manufacturer didn't give it away for a loss too. Where is the benefit to the photographer? This photographer, Jan Martin Will (also seen here cross-posting the same images on Dreamstime and Shutterstock), from Pasadena California trekked all the way to Antarctica (on someone's dime) and is now making his photos available for free. And how will they choose the ones they give away for free? Those that have been online for atleast a year with no sales.
You can bet that istockphoto and all the others will follow suit. What's next? Paying for the privledge of having your work out there? Oh, right, Getty's already got that one down pat. Now just wait until the ones you paid Getty to consider get offered for free through their istockphoto brand. While Wall Street analysts continue to be worried that penny-stock sites like iStockphoto (that Getty acquired in February 2006) will devastate Getty's rights-managed and royalty-free offerings, their CEO continues to believe that all's well. During his most recent conference call with them two days ago, Getty CEO Jonathan Klein went to great lengths to calm their fears, saying "We did not have a great year. Let’s be clear...but we have emerged in good shape." Wow. Pass the dutchie on the left hand side Mr. Klein.
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.