TEL AVIV, Israel, July 3, 2018 — Wemark is featuring a curated stock photography marketplace with over 1M images, powered by a blockchain-based licensing protocol. Backed by some of the biggest names in the image industry, Wemark allows photographers to connect directly with buyers, regaining control, transparency and revenue from distributors and agencies.
Although the digital content industry continues to expand daily, creators still struggle to make a living from their work. Photographers shoot stock imagery and license it for commercials, company websites, social media or marketing materials all over the world.
However, with major stock photography agencies reaching hundreds of millions of images (Shutterstock’s collection will reach 200M images in less than a month) it’s becoming increasingly difficult for photographers to generate substantial income from their work.
But there’s another huge challenge creators face – as large distribution agencies become more powerful, getting fair compensation is a growing obstacle. Stock photography is one of the most centrally controlled industries with major agencies as Shutterstock and Getty Images taking up to 85% of the revenue generated by creators.
“In recent years, middlemen agencies like Getty and Shutterstock have monopolized content distribution, leaving artists and creators with limited alternatives to reach customers and get a fair compensation for their work. More often than not, creators are left with little transparency and control, and a shrinking bottom-line.” Continues Kaish, “Blockchain changes this. Digital content licensing is a perfect use-case for smart contracts which facilitate payments and licensing directly between creators and customers.”
Today, Wemark announces its curated marketplace of over 1M commercial images, along with the first content partners – some of the industry’s top-selling image producers. Some of the most successful names in stock photography, including Monkey Business, Caia Image and CAVAN, will make their collections available through Wemark’s new licensing protocol. These collections, which top the sales rankings of agencies like Shutterstock and Getty Images today, are some of the most well-known and widely used sources of premium images among top publishers, advertising agencies and big brands alike.
Wemark’s licensing protocol accepts payments directly from customers, registers a license and automatically distributes the funds to the photographer. This removes third party involvement in licensing and payments, creates a new standard of transparency for creators, and helps them keep the vast majority of the revenue.
“More and more creators are starting to realize their power and looking to reclaim the control and revenue over their content. However, for most creators, it’s almost impossible to distribute content directly to customers. Wemark’s blockchain-based marketplace allows creators to benefit most of the advantages of distributing their content directly, while still provides customers with a single platform to access all the content in the network,” said Kaish.
Wemark is backed by an impressive line of advisors with a strong understanding of the digital content space: Lars Perkins (founder of Picasa – acquired by Google), Miguel Forbes (co-founder of Forbes.com) and former Shutterstock executives Keren Sachs (former director of content development) and Michael C. Lesser (former vice president and general counsel).
“This is a tremendous milestone for Wemark. The world’s leading content providers have entrusted us with their photos before we have even licensed an image. They believe in what we are building and the future of the content licensing on the blockchain. We are honored and invigorated by the support from the creative community,” said Keren Sachs.
Wemark’s headquarters are in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the company has raised over $1M from Palo Alto’s NFX fund, Elevator Fund, Sarona ventures and private investors.
Wemark was founded in 2015, by Tai Kaish, Pavel Elkind and Roy Meirom.
Backed by VC’s and some of the biggest names in the image industry, Wemark is building a distributed marketplace for digital content. Starting with the $4b ultra-centralized stock photography industry, Wemark utilize blockchain to connect content creators with consumers directly, disintermediating the distribution of content and reclaiming artists’ control and revenue from agencies and distribution platforms.
Wemark raised over $1m from VC’s in Israel, New York and Silicon Valley.
The company’s headquarters are in Israel.
Video: Meet Wemark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWCFt_M28eE