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is Flickr serious ?

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Flickr’s recent announcement that it will offer licensing tools to its user base should come as no surprise to the readers to Kaptur. We predicted such a move a while back. At a time when more and more photo tech companies are putting their content for licensing,  from 500px to EyeEm , Flickr, the grandfather of them all, had to react.  However, having a large pool of images ( over 6 billion images) is not enough to break-in the photo licensing world .

To be successful, Flickr will have to overcome a few barriers of entry :

Flickr announces its upcoming licensing tools

But not everything, as it might seem, is a barrier for Flickr. It has two very strong attributes that none of its competitor have. First and foremost, it has a very strong brand. Everyone knows what Flickr is.  While traffic numbers are not published ( between 80 to 100 million/month), they are 10 x above any of its potential competitors. While visits are no guarantee of sales, the potential is certainly present.

The second strong attribute is the depth of the collection. With more than 6 billion images already available ( granted, not all will be available under this model), Flickr offers a huge potential of in-depth visuals that could pleased the most hard-core photo editor. Furthermore, those pictures have much less of this blend stocky feel found in professional databases and are much closer in authenticity to the current star, Instagram. That is a very powerful advantage at a time where brands and advertisers are seeking to get closer to consumers by using images taken by consumers .

Interestingly, to use a Flickr term, the investment world seems unphased by this announcement,  partly because the details are not yet known. Shutterstock’s stock has not registered any signs of concerns and instead has been on the uprise.  Yahoo’s stock, as well, seemed to have ignored the news.  It could also be that a lot of investors/market watchers have lost faith in Yahoo’s ability to innovate with impact.  Flickr, after all, has been dormant for so long and missed so many great opportunities that this could only  just be a nervous reaction of a dying body.

On clue could be that, besides a few image curators, Flickr does not seemed to have hired any top executives with experience in this field. Either they feel that being photo passionate is good enough to succeed in the photo licensing world ( they wouldn’t the first to make that mistake) or their just not that much into making this project succeed. It is just a question of time before we will know. In the mean time, it is certainly something we will be watching closely.

Author: Paul Melcher

Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.

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