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Masterfile forays into Indian stock imagery market

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Marketing | December 01, 2010
The Canada-based stock imagery company aims at 25 per cent market share by the end of financial year 2011.

Toronto-based Masterfile Corporation has made an entry into the Indian stock imagery market. Though the company is not new to the Indian market, it took a while for Masterfile to set up its base in India.

Geoff Cannon, executive vice-president, Masterfile, tells afaqs!, "While we had been keen on getting our business established in India; Getty's acquisition of Jupiter led to the rise of new opportunities for partnership, and that's what triggered the entry of Masterfile into the Indian market. We had earlier come in 2001 to outsource scanning. The opportunities came with the growth of the Indian economy and various sectors, such as real estate and IT companies, in addition to tier I and II cities."

The Indian stock imagery market, which is pegged at about $7 million, has several players, including Getty, Corbis and Images Bazaar. Masterfile is aiming at acquiring 25 per cent market share by the end of financial year 2011, and increasing its share to 35 per cent by the end of financial year 2012.

According to Viinod Nair, knowledge partner, Conceptual Media Solutions (Masterfile's partner in South Asia), "We know that we are up against large players; we are looking at consolidating our position in this industry by increasing market share, penetration through expanding into tier II and III cities and building up a local content bank. In many of our major markets, more than half of the business comes from non-advertising industry. Therefore, apart from tying up with advertising agencies, we are also looking at other relevant industries."

The stock imagery market is divided into two categories - international content, provided by players such as Corbis and Getty; and Indian content, provided by stock photography sites such as imagesbazaar.com. For international players to establish themselves in the Indian market, it is very important to have local content. Cannon elaborates that increasingly, the focus for international players such as Masterfile has been to create a bank of local content.

On the Masterfile website, about 2.5 million images are available for the Indian market; of which 300,000 images are the company's own collection. These numbers will continue to grow.

The company claims that besides content, its other focus area is technology. Hence, it has launched a search engine, Sim Search - Endless Media. Cannon adds, "While the rest of the websites look like mid-'90s digital catalogues, we have designed the website keeping users in mind. The search engine gives cinematic search results and allows the user to search for a wide range of images, based on the same theme or opposite themes."

While Masterfile prepares to face tough competition in India, only time will tell how far it succeeds.

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