The AP And Corbis Combine Image Libraries In Distribution Deal

The Associated Press and photo service Corbis Images are bring their respective trove of licensed pictures together as the two look for ways to reach each other’s customers. The “multi-year” deal, which will bring together over 10 million archived images, as well as new ones. The intent is to connect the AP’s breaking news photos and Corbis’ advertising and commercial pictures and sell the images to their respective client base.

For example, if one of the AP’s news organization members has a feature on the melting polar ice cap or endangered polar bears, it might want to access to a Corbis photo that can better illustrate the story as opposed to assigning a straight news story. And for Corbis, if one of its advertising clients wants to use an archival image of a famous news event, an AP action shot is readily available.

Corbis’ rivals have also been active in finding alliances designed to make the most of their huge image libraries. For example, In addition to completing two acquisitions, Getty Images struck deals with Universal Music.

The stock photo market has grown tremendously in recent years, and the internet has provided companies with vast image libraries with an opportunity to cash in old pictures. Hence, the reason the AP had fought so strongly against what it regarded as street artist Shepard Fairey’s appropriation of an Obama campaign photo. The easy access to images on the web has also made these companies more vigilant about protecting their intellectual property. By teaming up, the AP and Corbis can introduce each other to their respective clients and make it less likely that they’ll look to alternative photo distributors.

The Corbis arrangement — financial terms are undisclosed — is the latest wide-ranging content distribution deal the AP has struck in the past few years, including deals between its photo portal, AP Images, and the NFL and the NCAA in 2009. More recently, the AP has been working with photo agency CelebrityFootage and teamed with the Press Association on video licensing.

Last month, the AP began working with talent agency/marketing firm Madison Avenue Sports and Entertainment to develop content culled from the wire service’s library of audio, video and photography. Among the first plans to come out of the partnership, MadAve will create “episodic programming” using footage from the APs archive.

“We’re continuing to look for partners who can help extend our client base and reach,” said Fernando Ferre, VP for AP Images, in an interview with paidContent. “The alliance with Corbis is an entirely new one for us and it’s very complementary. That’s the main thing we look for in these partnerships — there’s a definite focus on avoiding any duplication in what we have to offer. We’re also thinking about medicine, sports and entertainment on packaging our content for programming.”