Company first set up to address lack of Asian images in the market
Out to create an online community of SEA-based photographers
TOKYO-based stock image company Pixta Inc started with a mission of making the world flat through the Internet, and the belief that there just weren’t enough Asian images available to the world’s media.
It launched in May 2006 with only a few hundred images and 50 contributors, but has now grown to become one of the largest stock image providers in Japan, with a library of nearly eight million images, boasting more than 125,000 contributors and 150,000 buyers.
Having conquered Japan, it is now actively targeting the rest of Asia, and has already launched into China and Taiwan.
It is also specifically targeting the South-East Asian market for growth, establishing a regional office in Singapore last November with its current target markets including Malaysia and Thailand, and believes its business model will differentiate itself from other stock image companies.
“We want to build an online community of photographers, and while we do have many professionals, what we really want to do is help amateur photographers monetise or earn money from their hobby,” says Yusuke Saito, business development leader at Pixta’s Corporate Planning Division.
“Our online marketplace is a bit like a crowdsourcing platform in that sense, and in fact, more than 90% of our contributors are amateurs,” he tells Digital News Asia (DNA) after the company recently held a photography workshop in Kuala Lumpur, its first in Malaysia.
Pixta aims to be the ‘go-to’ stock image website in Asia by 2020 by working with photographers in South-East Asia, then providing their images to customers. Its images are used on advertisements, publications and websites, and even in the marketing collaterals of some companies.
To achieve its ‘No 1 in Asia’ target, the company is working on a number of fronts, according to Saito (pic). The first is of course is to source for talented photographers, and then enabling them.
“Our team is constantly scouring websites, and when we come across good pictures, we reach out to the photographers – usually via email – to try and recruit them,” he says. “We also work with photographer communities or groups in each country.”
On its part, Pixta will try and help out these photographers, not only in selling their images, but also training them to shoot stock photos. The company takes a commission of 22% to 50% on each sale, depending on a variety of factors, including whether the content is exclusive.
“Shooting stock images is a bit different from normal photography, so we run workshops for our photographers and can even help them set up shooting sessions,” says Saito (pic).
“We also help hook them up with models or modelling agencies so they can have a pool of talents they can use, especially for portrait shots,” he adds. “We want to be the bridge between photographers and agencies.”
Shooting support is already available in Singapore and Malaysia, and will soon be available in Thailand. The company has managed to recruit about 400 photographers in these three countries, including 100 in Malaysia, according to Saito.
Most Pixta customers are advertising and design companies, as well as publishers, and the company says it is seeing increasing interest from professionals who need images for presentations.
Pixta says it scrutinises each image it puts on its website, to ensure that customers can use images without worrying about piracy or any copyright infringement, and also so that contributors need not worry about how their images will be used either.
Customers can register for free, and they can use images as many times as they like once purchased. The company offers two plans: Single purchases or a subscription, where you can download up to 25 images a day.
Pixta is targeting to have US$1 million in sales and one million images in its database by 2014, says Saito.
“We’re a bit off-track with our revenue target, but really on track to getting those one million images,” he admits. “In the meantime, we may look into coming up with more variations of our subscription plan.”
Crowdsourcing: It’s about disruptive business models
Crowdsourcing off to good start in Malaysia, challenges remain
Singapore startup Pitch6's app allows consumers to create ads
VirtualMalaysia.com morphs into social travel portal
For more technology news and the latest updates, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Like us on Facebook.