New service unlocks value in dusty photographs
Newspapers and magazines might have a huge revenue opportunity hidden away in “photo morgues,” according to Bob Pokress, president of Image Fortress, a digital imaging archive service. “In many of the cases, we’ve been looking at libraries that we believe could generate tens of millions of dollars of revenue,” he said in an interview.
Image Fortress teamed up with Masterpiece Marketing Group, a global collectibles dealer, to launch Advanced Image Archiving (AIA), a digital imaging archiving and monetizing service. The service enables newspaper, magazines and other image collections to digitize, preserve and sell photo archives.
“For the first time a unit can have a unified digital depository for all of their photos, rather than a small percentage of their photos,” Pokress said.
He said photograph collections are one of the most valuable assets a newspaper or magazine owns, yet many publishers don't have the resources to maximize revenue potential of the assets. Instead, old photos might be taking up space and deteriorating. “It’s interesting that newspapers refer to where they keep their photographs as 'photographic morgues,'” he said.
The system focuses on both short-term and long-term revenue channels available to publishers. For short-term revenue, MMG connects publishers to the collectibles market, where they can sell images to collectors. “There’s a huge number of very historical photos in the possession of many media companies ... most of which have never been seen by the public,” Pokress said.
For long-term revenue, the service can manage the sales and marketing of inventory through electronic distribution, selling reprints and licenses. For instance, The Chicago Tribune already uses the service via www.chicagotribunephotos.com.