Last week I was working with my friend John Iseghohi on a funny graphic for a private forum we both belong to, and we did a search for “beautiful black woman wearing heels”.
Usually the process flow of such a search would go from a normal google search to much more advanced searches in image banks like ‘istockphotos’ and ‘shutterstock’, this particular search came up with some interesting results but the results were not just “Nigerian/black enough”, so we had to settle for one of the images we found on google.
Today, Jason Njoku, (described with terms as serial entrepreneur, lucky guy, bastard, etc but in my own books simply “A hardworking entrepreneur that is showing his knowledge of his environment”) on his blog announced the launch of a new platform Foto.com.ng which according to the description of the website is…oops, couldn’t a find a description, but is basically a platform that will help solve the problem of finding culturally. environmentally and ethnically relevant stock images or simply put, “amazing black photography”. Spark/Jason have invested $70,000 into Foto, with a further $80,000 to be spent in the course of 6 months.
Foto.com.ng hasn’t entirely been a secret, from the team(Nuisinic photos did the photography for the first iROKO brand ambassador campaign in the early iROKO days-not sure I got the spelling of Nuisinic right though) to what they want to build, a simple check of the Spark website or if you are a regular consumer of content from Jason’s blog(Yes I am), then you will already know that Foto was going to launch soon.
I did a quick run through of the platform and search experience on the website is currently “shitty” but knowing Jason I expect it to improve quickly, search is one thing that will heavily drive discovery, organic search and on site search will be very important.
The current thing that raises questions for me is the current pricing and forms the basis for the title ‘Will Nigerians Pay $45 For an Image? Jason Njoku and Foto think so”, taking a look at the pricing of Shutterstock and istockphotos, we will see that that the Foto team’s pricing is around the same range, give and take a few dollars, but will the average Nigerian pay between $15-$45 dollars for an image? Especially one that is for a funny forum? Well time will tell. If I need an image for a billboard that will cost me $40,000 to create and mount, then $25 will seem negligible to me. The real winner for Foto will really be in the bigger subscription packages (brands/companies with everyday photography needs would easily subscribe to this), like one I have used on shutterstock before; $249 for a full month with 25 downloads a day which brings down my single image price heavily
Another big issue that Jason and the foto team will face is with piracy ( Jason and iROKOtv seem to be really kicking hard with fighting piracy in the movies industry), some creative(illegal) photoshoping(like what I have done below)and the watermark will come off smoothly. Nigerian graphic designers can also be “carefree”, I have seen Newspaper adverts that still had a shutterstock logo on the image.
Well it’s the early days and I am certainly happy to see another fun startup from Nigeria. With iROKOtv, Jason is actually proving that the subscription model can work, revenue streams from Nigeria(I once used to look at this data) may not be that much but I believe they are certainly growing, do you think Foto.com.ng can really be monetized in Nigeria?