September 10, 2009 the AP places another feather in their cap as they sign a distribution deal with one of the leading music and entertainment photographers – Frank Micelotta – as he formally launches PictureGroup. AP is just ramping up their NFL deal that they spirited away from Getty Images (The Associated Press and the NFL, 4/15/09), as Micelotta, who left Getty back in January, now has launched PictureGroup with an AP Images distribution deal.
Micelotta brings not just his decades of talent and connections to PictureGroup as CEO and Chief Photographer, but he brings together decades of talent from across the country under one umbrella in PictureGroup.
It has been said by many industry leaders that Photo Business News has talked to about this, that Getty Images has such penetration into the marketplace because of distribution, that they would seem to be hard to beat., and PictureGroup would have an uphill battle in gaining traction.
Micelotta, despite having many marquee companies and organizations like MTV, BET, Comedy Central, FOX, MySpace, Columbia Records, Jive Label Group, RCA Records and EMI, would have to convince the prospective buyer to actively visit the PictureGroup site in order to license material. Getty benefits from people already being on their site and performing searches, and while Getty is a known entity and image resource, PictureGroup is not. As such, the concern is that, for example, MTV might benefit from people looking for images specifically from one of their events, but could lose out on the exposure from an MTV image fitting the bill when a search is performed for a celebrity where the event didn’t matter. These searches can reasonably be called unintended-but-beneficial results.This is where the AP distribution deal is remarkably genius.
Under the deal with the AP, Micelotta says “I am also thrilled to be partnering with the world’s largest and preeminent news organization, the Associated Press, and believe that this alliance allows PictureGroup to provide a unique offering to the entertainment industry.” And the AP is equally effusive, “We look forward to working with all of PictureGroup’s photographers to expand AP’s entertainment content, while furthering the evolution of AP Images into a dominant provider of commercial entertainment assignment services,” said Dan Becker, AP’s Director of Entertainment Content.
In one fell swoop, concerns about the count of eyeballs on images vanishes. More than Getty Images, the AP’s AP Images platform has more searches performed, which will lead to more of those unintended-but-beneficial results for picutureGroup and the AP.
Micelotta is not alone in leading this endeavor. He will run PictureGroup with Paul Melcher, who, aside from most recently being the CEO of REX USA, was also was Director of North American Operations and Sales for Hachette Filipacchi Photo Group. Melcher will likely continue to pen his Melcher System blog with his candid thoughts about the industry, and we look forward to those insights.
Micelotta adds “one of the reasons I am doing this is that there is an opportunity in the marketplace that wasn’t being filled, and I was hearing that from my clients. I think it’s really nice that we can start a company like PictureGroup, and hopefully empower photographers a little bit more to be able to run their businesses as photographers again, and have a company that will support them. We plan on supporting our photographers with technology, and we plan on supporting their clients, all the while letting them still work with their clients. I think we have a little bit of a different approach.”
Look to PictureGroup to be a most formidable opponent in the entertainment images arena.
10 Questions for Frank Micelotta, 9/11/09
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