by Julian Jackson
footageMarketplace, the London event aimed at the footage industry is now in its 6th year. Always held in the prestigious HQ of BAFTA in central London, it is similar to US expos staged by Visual Connections, albeit with more emphasis on footage – although increasingly stills collections supply motion material too now. This year, production music libraries also attended, and a new feature was four well-received seminars on different aspects of the industry.
Thirty-five agencies and industry service organisations exhibited in the congenial David Lean room. Some agencies had come from Europe, like Sonuma from Belgium, or SVT from Sweden, and large international vendors such as Getty Images, Shutterstock and Adobe were in attendance. UK stalwarts like robertharding, Science Photo Library and NaturePL, were there, along with industry service providers like Capture, and trade association FOCAL International.
This is one of the few events in the UK where professional buyers and sellers of footage can meet face to face to make deals and network. It also is useful to find out what is happening generally in the industry and how specific footage agencies are faring.
This year, for the first time, production music was included. Phil Hope, Group Managing Director of Cutting Edge Film Scores says, “We have a fantastic library of film music from feature films and TV that was produced over the last 6 or 7 years. We have all rights for usage. We work on 30-40 feature films per year so the library is growing very fast.” Phil adds, “We saw footageMarketplace as an opportunity to connect to a different sort of user. We are very well connected to advertising agencies, trailer houses, the traditional users of film score music. We came here to find producers and other users, who would equally well find value in our music.” Other production music libraries included Soundvault – which has funding to create an interesting universal metadata tagging system similar to the Bitcoin blockchain – which may help clarify licencing issues, and Soho Production Music.
A new agency exhibiting for the first time this year was LOLA Clips. This stands for London/Los Angeles – their twin bases of operation. They are bringing high-quality footage content to the marketplace, including aerial drone, news, historical clips, 35mm and 4K. Joint CEO Sandra Coelho says, “We are a boutique agency – we curate all our clips, so there are 10-20 thousand on our site, but they have all been chosen carefully to go up there. Each of our suppliers has a Partner Page so you can see what type of material they have. We’ve just taken over the London Live collection (a cable TV station) which has all sorts of stories about London you won’t find elsewhere.”
Major archives like the BFI and Imperial War Museum were well represented. Budget cuts mean that publicly-owned archival organisations need to be imaginative in their clip sales and licensing in order to survive. They have a remit to preserve material and that costs money, especially if it is in danger or needs urgent restoration. An archive source who didn’t want to be named said that they were aiming to maximize their clip sales to make up for lost government revenue. Paul Johnson of ITV Sport Archive said that their main issue was deteriorating old videotape formats (such as 1” and Betacam) and having to keep aging, obsolete tape machines going, when spare parts are no longer manufactured.
Barbara Rodriguez, of Sonuma, which is a collection of Belgian public television content going back to 1956, said that their reason for coming to fM was to expand their reach in the English-speaking marketplace, “We came to have more contact with UK freelances, because they work on several projects, and have wide contacts in the industry.”
Adobe were there for the first time. Since their acquisition of fotolia in 2014 they have moved aggressively into the stills space, and are adding clips, although footage is probably less than 10% of their collection of 52 million “assets”. Because of their links with the creative community, they are able to build their collection rapidly.
It seems that the industry in general is recovering from the downturn somewhat. It’s always difficult to tell, but there was an aura of cautious optimism. There is definitely a premium marketplace for 4K clips, even though HD would really be adequate for nearly all usages. Most agencies I asked said they got requests for 4K. Big screen events need that format, together with feature films. A few demurred, like Raw Cut (which does lots of police dashcam and CCTV footage) so does not get asked for larger format material. Interestingly they have just linked up with the Born Free Foundation to market their clips of animal rescue.
Four cutting edge industry seminars ran during the day, from thought-leaders like Peter Stower – Content Partnerships, Google / YouTube, Global, and Simon Gosling – Creative Evangelist, HappyFinish, talking about the future of VR.
Bob Prior, publisher of StockFootage and StockIndex online and organiser of the event says, “In our sixth year, this was the most successful footageMarketplace so far. A major contributing factor was the seminars, which were highly rated, most attendees giving them an eight or nine out of ten. We chose subjects which would be stimulating to industry professionals and they were highly regarded.”
He adds, “We will definitely be doing more seminars next year, but we always try to do something new to improve each event, rather than just stay the same all the time.”