Scoopshot is a service by a Helsinki, Finland based startup PS2 Media Group Inc that changes the way media companies work with photos. It’s a lot said, but I’m willing to back it up as a person running a media company myself. In all simplicity, Scoopshot makes smartphone owners photographers for media companies. Users can take newsworthy photos and send them to the service through the Scoopshot mobile app and sell them at a set price. Journalists writing stories can purchase the photos at the price the photographer has set. If they wish to purchase the exclusive right to use the photo, they pay ten times the set price. I talked with Petri Rahja and Jussi Liimatainen about the service and what the company is up to.
The company was founded in April 2010, just two days after the first pitch Rahja made. During autumn 2010 the first investors got on board with about 450 000 euros. The first iteration of the product worked relatively well and it was actually fine-tuned in co-operation with students from Helsinki University of Technology.
2011 has been good for the company, to say the least. During the first six months of business they have already accumulated about 120 000 euros in revenue. In total they have about 5200 photographers on board who shoot news photography on scene. In total, Scoopshot has some 82 000 photos in their system already. From those, about 48 200 photos have been sold already.
Rahja and Liimatainen like to position the service as an active news photography stream instead of a stock photo service. Indeed, the service can be used by journalists to give out tasks for users in the community to photograph a fire at a certain location for example. Users can then sign-up for the task through the mobile app and if their photo gets picked – they get paid.
The problems Scoopshot is solving with the service are obvious. As margins get thinner running a media company – photographers can’t always be sent to each incident that needs to be photographed and it’s not even physically possible to do so. Therefore, Scoopshot is a sort of a community photographer that is always present.
Another incentive for smart phone users to use service such as Scoopshot is the question of royalties. A famous case in the industry is the emergency landing of the US Airways flight into Hudson River in the US. An amateur photographer got to the scene, shot a photo with their phone and sent it to Twitpic. As Twitpic states in their TOS, they own all the rights to photos people send them. The photographer received very little compared to what Twitpic got for the image as they sold it onward; $750 000.
Scoopshot is currently available for the Android and iPhone ecosystems, while the service is available in Finland, Estonia, Sweden, The Netherlands and Denmark. The company is actually looking for 1.6 million euros in financing in the following months to take the service international.
Rahja and Liimatainen were also hinting towards a large international media partner they are finalising contracts with that they will announce in the coming weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was someone like BBC or Al Jazeera based on our discussions. Nevertheless, getting an international partner like that on board would mean a great go-to-market for the app.