Big Jobs

June 26th, 2009

No, this is nothing to do with Steve.

fotoLibra was given a tender document from a large organisation. We read it carefully, and with respect, because the business has a fine reputation.

They wanted
a) a digital asset management system
b) a secure web hosting service
c) digitisation of 6 million images in varying formats from glass plates to transparencies
d) complete metadata applied to each image

In return for all this they offered “a licence for a limited period of time to exploit the photographs commercially.”

No cash. No other form of payment at all.

And by the way the 2,000 existing users of the archive must continue to be able to access and download the content for free, including all the newly digitised and keyworded assets. They’re not included in the commercial licence.

I believe they may have to rethink this proposal. The cost of digitising and applying metadata to 6 million images would be north of £20 million.

This is a huge job, and a massive investment. Commercial exploitation would be unlikely to recoup a twentieth of this amount. The length of the licence would have to be in centuries in order to claw back the original investment.

Not for us — but thanks for thinking of us!

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3 Responses to “Big Jobs”

  1. peta ward says:

    LoL … I recall having Glaxo Smith Kline Beecham request a quote for digitising and storing all their moving image (film and Betacam) advertising from the entire world ever made, along with an on going digital library for all new adverts. I had the pleasure of looking through a lot of it, to create the estimate. There were thousands of hours of priceless adverts for well known brands (such as Ribena), incredible 1950s footage from the colonies as they were at the time, where the rules of advertising were, well, non-existent.

    I can’t remember what we quoted, but is was a couple of million quid, and clearly that was a very good price… the IT bubble had just burst 2001, and 9/11 had decimated corporate spending. I don’t know what they actually expected, but sad to report the entire archive got put in a skip. A crying shame, but then I am a bit of a hoarder. I might add, we would probably still be digitising it today!!

  2. Gwyn Headley says:

    That is APPALLING! Couldn’t they have given it to a museum?

  3. peta ward says:

    I did suggest looking for lottery funding to preserve it, but no-one took me seriously. It was ironic that the reason they woke up to their archive (which was housed in the old building on the left down the A40) was because in 1961 at the age of 8, Michael Portillo starred in a television advertisement for Ribena, and the media wanted it. It took them ages to find. I guess that reel survived. What makes it so appalling is that he reason they wanted to didgitise it all was because their new huge multi million pound building (on the right up the A40) did not have ‘space’ for it. The whole collection could fit in a small flat including the small viewing theatre, as long as it had high ceilings. Who knows, maybe they didn’t dump it all, but that was what they said they were going to do and that’s when my contact was lost.