Film Library Revamps Catalog

The catalog of film footage from The WPA Film Library has emerged from its first face lift in six years with a more colorful look and a more market-savvy approach.

While the previous catalog emphasized the meticulous indexes the company keeps of its 40,000 hours of material, the new catalog — which arrived in offices late last month — serves an improved marketing role in the company, with less detailed indexes and twice as many photographs of the footage available for licensing.

“The catalog is a way of marketing the collection so people can get a handle on what we have all at once,” said Matthew White, president of The WPA Film Library, a subsidiary of MPI Media, Orland Park, IL. “If clients want to access the index, the Web site is a better tool.”

The company's Web site, at, has contained an extensive index of the company's film footage for three years. It also has 3,000 photos representing the footage in the collection.

The new 100-page book is more customer-friendly, with 500 photos vs. the last book's 250, more carefully written footage descriptions and a newly organized index, said project manager Marty Callaghan.

“We've made the index more general; before, it was almost too specific. That left more room to focus on images and write-ups about them,” Callaghan said.

The catalog's previous index often was chronological, but its new index is segmented into subjects that are either popular or include an especially large amount of film footage, White said.

“Before, we listed a lot of material in collections in the library that made sense to us,” he said. “We've tried to reorganize it into subjects that make more sense for our clients, so there are now subjects like sports, history and fashion.”

The company began distributing the catalog by mailing it to 25,000 names from its house file. Meanwhile, 150,000 postcards were sent to advertising agencies, television producers, corporations with video departments and educational organizations, inviting people to call for a free catalog. The company used association membership lists, trade magazine subscriber lists and other rented lists to identify the target audience for the postcard mailing. In total, 75,000 catalogs were printed, White said.

To order from the catalog, customers must call a toll-free number and order a printed list of the footage that matches their needs. If customers are interested in footage described on the list, they are sent a lower-resolution tape to review before deciding to license the material.

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