National Geographic Sells Photos Online


(AP) The National Geographic Society is putting thousands of its culture and wildlife photos online for sale.

With the launch of its digital archive on Tuesday, the society is responding to stronger demand for computer accessible images from its clients — including ad agencies, magazines, and textbook publishers — which use them to sell their products.

“I had to really wait until the market was demanding digital images and online accessibility,” said Maura Mulvihill, National Geographic’s vice president of image collection. “It wasn’t really a great idea financially until the last year or two.”

National Geographic will initially move about 10,000 photos from catalogue to computer from its archive of over 10 million images. Up to 3,000 new images will be downloaded for commercial use each year thereafter.

Users can browse the archive with words such as “food,” “joy,” or “competition,” which brings up everything from rhinos butting horns to body building contests.

Depending on usage, prices for a single image run from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, with a high premium for exclusive rights.

With hardware and software from IBM, the new system is expected to triple sales in three to five years, Mulvihill said.

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