This question, addressed to Footage “Guru” Jim Pickerel, is of high importance not only to filmmakers, but also to producers looking for exclusive footage material to be used in ambitious projects. On his web portal, Pickerel recently released a list of the top 10 international stock footage agencies.

Notably, 3 of the 10 named companies do not include footage from other producers in their archive: AP (The Associated Press), ITN (Independent Television News) and INA (Institut national de l’audiovisuel) promote only their own content and news footage.

3 more companies do not offer exclusive rights managed material:

Shutterstock, Videoblocks and Pond5 market only Royalty Free footage, meaning the same clips may be used anytime by anybody else and for any other project.

Whether filmmaker or footage buyer – whoever needs to set setting a standard for exclusivity, legal certainty, service, and quality, is dealing with a smaller range of agencies worldwide. After Corbis was sold in May, theses are the 4 biggest stock footage companies:

 Getty Images  Framepool  Wazee Digital  Dissolve
Head Office USA: Seattle, WA EU: Munich, GER USA: Denver, CO CAN: Calgary
Court of Jurisdiction New York
(Arbitration in 6 nations)
AMER: New York
Colorado Canada
Established / Staff 1995 / ~ 1.600 2001 / 43 2003 / ~ 100 2013 / < 50
RM Clips > 1,5 million > 700.000 > 350.000 > 160.000
Clips total > 2,6 million ~ 800.000 n.a. > 1 million
Still Photos / licensable stills
🔵 / 🔴
🔴 / 🔵 🔴 / 🔴 🔵 / 🔴
Offline Research internal / external sources 🔵 / 🔵 🔵 / 🔵 🔵 / 🔵 🔵 / n.a.
Rights Clearance internal / external clips 🔵 / n.a. 🔵 / 🔵 🔵 / n.a. 🔵 / 🔴

To speak plainly:

Framepool’s portfolio of Rights Managed footage is about to be the second largest worldwide and in Europe we are the number one by far.

Compared with our competitors, Framepool offers:

  • the biggest share on Rights Managed footage, with approx. 90 % of the total holdings.
  • depending on location, the option of concluding a license agreement in Europe or in the US thus providing  legal certainty with intercontinental concerns.
  • the possibility for individual film shoots by over 800 cinematographers worldwide, as addition to research at external sources
  • extensive know-how on media legislation and clearance of footage material from other resources, such as fYouTube or Vimeo, as well as rights negotiations with celebrities , etc.
  • the biggest footage supply of Unesco World Cultural Heritage Sites, including close to 6,000 aerial shots.
  • a vast category of historic footage material (60% of this is available in HD), curated by historians.