Off the rails?

October 24th, 2008
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

I was sorry to hear on my return from a very successful Frankfurt Book Fair that one of our fellow picture libraries, Digital Railroad, is feeling the pinch. In an announcement dated October 15th they wrote:

“For the past few weeks, Digital Railroad (DRR) has been seeking additional funding required to sustain its current level of operations.

“To date, those efforts have been unsuccessful. As a result, effective October 15, 2008, the company has initiated a reduction in staff and expenses while it continues the funding effort. Nevertheless, Digital Railroad is committed to the continued support of its customers through this period and has retained adequate staff to support both member archives and image licensing sales.”

It’s a tough world, and Digital Railroad has burned its way through a massive amount of cash since they launched with a big fanfare a couple of years ago, following the model created by fotoLibra. Alas when we started we were unable to raise anything like the prodigious sums DRR later claimed, so we had to trim our coat according to our cloth.

We made sure our site worked. We made sure the right sort of buyers knew about us. We have expanded and expended carefully. We remain poor. We’ll always be cautious, because we can only guess at what awaits us in the future, and we won’t know for sure until we get there. But we made sure our foundations were as solid as they could be before rushing into rapid world-domineering expansion.

And we’re still not rushing. We intend to be around for a long time to come. We’re not actively seeking additional funding (though a little would be nice, if you fancy it) but we are steadily growing. I believe we now have more photographers on our books than any other picture library.

Digital Railroad charges $50 (£31.15) a month for membership, or you can get a 30 day free trial.

fotoLibra is free in perpetuity, although the precise equivalent of the DRR membership, fotoLibra’s Platinum Membership, costs $24.07 (£15) a month. Which is less than half the price.

Either they got their maths wrong, or we did.


Add your comment