New media bidding site Diimex looking to change the way pictures are sold globally

L-R top row Andrew Darby and Jeff Darmanin, bottom row Carlo Cossalter and Joel Smith (Directors)

L-R top row Andrew Darby and Jeff Darmanin, bottom row Carlo Cossalter and Joel Smith (Directors)

Diimex logoHaggling for hours over photos could become a thing of the past with a new global online media bidding platform backed by two of the country’s top photo editors set to launch next week.

Diimex, a photo and media content exchange site based in Sydney, has been developed by former News Corp picture editors Andrew Darby and Jeff Darmanin along with company directors Carlo Cossalter, who has a background in finance, and Joel Smith, who worked in real estate.

The site works on similar principles to online auction sites, allowing open but anonymous bidding on photos, with some for sale at a flat fee to any interested media.

More than 12,500 media owners in 200 countries around the world have signed up for the free subscription to the platform, which can also be used to distribute PR releases for a fee.

Darby and Darmanin worked for more than a decade as picture editors at The Daily Telegraph, where they say much of their time was spent bidding with agents over the phone for pictures, searching for images in picture libraries or downloading large image files they were not interested in.

They say they rarely had any written record of the bidding process with agents, and no evidence of higher bids elsewhere, and often missed out on the chance to bid for pictures as agents only offered them to a select few players.

Diimex gives picture editors the opportunity to view all photos on the site and watch the live bidding process online.

“We are trying to create efficiency, not only for the photographer, but for the picture editors as well because they are all so time poor,” Darmanin told Mumbrella.”What this platform has got together addresses the inefficiencies that have never been addressed before.”

Diimex will give 75 per cent of the final price to the photographers, while retaining 25 per cent, a figure Cossalter said is a small amount in comparison to other options in the market, calaiming photographers typically take home 40 or 50 per cent of the final sale price of their picture, and rarely if ever receive an invoice for the sale.

Further research by the startup found globally 76 per cent of the final cost of the photo goes to intermediaries such as agents and photo libraries, while photographers take home less than a quarter of the sale price for their work.

Photographers can upload pictures directly to the website and choose whether to sell their photos exclusively to the highest bidder, or give first rights to Diimex, allowing anyone to buy the image for a set price.

During the auction, which runs for a set time, buyers can bid on individual photos or the whole set, and set a price limit so they can opt out if the price exceeds their budget. Although the bids are made in public, buyers are anonymous.

Cossalter expects the number of subscribers to grow as the industry catches on to the model, adding: “We have tried to address many of the issues that buyers in the market are finding and we think we have got the most comprehensive system there, so once the momentum starts to build it will snowball.”

With a refined search engine to ensure buyers only see the content they are looking for, and photographers reach the buyers they need, Cossalter said it will also be useful to publishers wanting to sell syndicated content.

Government bodies will also be able to post public announcements and press releases on the site for free while PR companies wishing to distribute press releases to the international bank of subscribers can do so for a one-off fee or annual subscription.

A staff of 15 will work around the clock from their office in Rushcutters Bay to proof and polish content before it is pitched for sale, and respond to users via an online private messaging service.

Cossalter said the model will create a transparent bidding process without driving up the price of an exclusive, while also giving a fair return to the photographers and journalists.

“By putting 75 cents into the industry as opposed to taking 75 cents out can only help the industry, so we are asking buyers and contributors to give it a chance,” added Cossalter.

The platform goes live next Monday, January 20.

Megan Reynolds


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