by Lee Torrens
They’re building up their catalog now, intending to launch to buyers in about 4 months. Contributors who sign up during this period receive a higher royalty rate, 50%, over the standard 40%. But before you jump right in, there’s some big differences in the Meashots business model that you need to know about first.
The Four Big Differences with Meashots
1. Accepts only exclusive images
Exclusive imagery provides Meashots a way to dominate local market. This is an under-explored niche, and their market research showed there is limited understanding of copyright and licensing in the region. So the company thinks the best way to secure a leading position in the market and avoid licensing issues is by building a catalog with exclusive photos, which are also bit easier to monitor.
This is what will also help them protect images from copyright infringement and convert infringers to customers, which they intend to do with a combination of RM license enforcement – although RF and editorial will also be available – and fingerprinting technology.
2. Focussed on images from the Middle East and Africa
They will accept images from all around the world because, buyers in the Middle East and Africa need images from all around the world. But they’re aiming to have 65% images from that region.
3. Offers both Rights Managed and Royalty Free licenses
Meashots decides which images are sold as RF and which are RM. The decision is based on quality and production value of each submitted image. The usage type, region, and duration are selected by the buyer to determine the price for RM
4. Protects images with fingerprinting technology
Using the TinEye API, the company will monitor use of the Rights Managed images in its library, and follow up any undocumented usage. This strategy is based on the mentioned market research results about buyers being mostly uneducated on licensing terms, which they see as an opportunity to convert infringers into buyers.
The company is based in Egypt but by the time of launch to buyers the office will move to Dubai Media City.
The company is founded by Omar Abouzeid, an experienced commercial director and producer. He’ll be running shooting events to teach photographers in the region how to create locally-sensitive imagery that works as commercial stock, and help build up the stable of contributors.
Prices range from $15 – $142 depending on size for direct sales, with typical discounts for bulk credit purchases. Subscriptions will be brought online when there’s a critical mass in the collection.
They aim to keep a simple and easy-to-use structure and give priority to RM licenses, which they think will work well with the Middle Eastern customers given the lower copyright awareness.
They’re already negotiating some big partnerships to secure regional content from media companies, including historical and editorial archives. Reaching beyond just commercial stock is part of the strategic aim of being the hub of imagery in the region.
If you’re in that region and either already shoot stock, or are interested in shooting stock, Meashots might be a good option to test out. The exclusivity is per-image, not for all images, so testing with a portion of your portfolio is a manageable risk.
As for the business, Omar and his team are trying a lot of new ideas in the business model. If history is any guide, there’ll be some refining of this strategy over the first few years. But it’s great to see people trying something new.