Video Platform Added to iStockphoto Offerings

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Online photo marketplace iStockphoto Inc. widens its lens to video today by accepting user-generated film and animation clips to be made available in September as part of its royalty-free stock.

Previously the Calgary, Alberta-based company, which is owned by Getty Images Inc., Seattle, only provided still images through its community of buyers and sellers. The move has been anticipated by photographers and customers because of an increase in consumer appetite for video, combined with the relative affordability of high definition video cameras, said Kelly Thompson, iStock's vice president of marketing.

"We wanted to make sure that we could provide the same incredible experience that we have in stills for footage," Mr. Thompson said. "It's quite a bit more challenging to do it with footage."

The iStockphoto news comes soon after subscription-based photo marketplace Shutterstock Inc., New York, launched it's online footage offering. Shutterstock adds about 150 stock clips to its collection each week.

"We're still refining the service," said John Oringer, CEO of Shutterstock. "We're finding that it's not the easiest thing to offer footage because there are so many different formats. It's an industry in progress right now."

The stock footage market is estimated at 5 percent to 15 percent of the $3 billion stock photo industry, according to Mr. Thompson.

The potential for direct marketers is to use stock footage in podcasts, viral videos and PowerPoint presentations -- all growing mediums for spreading product messages.

Mr. Oringer and Mr. Thompson said that a part of their companies' target market is small businesses, primarily because of the affordability of downloadable footage.

IStockphoto footage will offer 30-second clips starting at $5 as opposed to $1 for stills. IStockphoto videographers earn royalties and receive data showing their sales levels.

Web designers, magazine editors and other graphic artists buy monthly subscriptions to Shutterstock to download photos. Shutterstock.com offers its contributors 30 percent for each clip sold. The clips range from $69 to $199 per clip.

Starting today, iStockphoto is accepting anyone's video footage at http://video.istockphoto.com. The footage then goes through a screening process for quality and trademark infringement before being added to the collection.

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