Captured Global’s New Business Model

Peter Johnson of Captured Global
Peter Johnson of Captured Global at Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, Oregon

The new business model behind Captured Global, a photography portal founded by outdoorsman, marketer and collector Peter Johnson (@capturedglobal) was the focus of this week’s evening lecture at Newspace Center for Photography (@NewspacePhoto) in Portland, Oregon.

His new business model has definitely received some attention: “Fascinating new model for buying photographs on the web”. Stephen Perloff, Editor, The Photo Review

Alex Osterwalder’s (@AlexOsterwalder) Business Model Innovation Canvas provides a framework with which to describe the new model and to identify the game changing elements.  Captured Global’s value proposition works itself out through things that affect the cost structure like Key Resources, Key Partners and Key Activities and things that affect the revenue streams like Customer Relationships, Segments and Channels.

In the adapted canvas below you can see what I discerned that Captured Global does in each of these categories.  You’ll find my summary of the game changing elements on both the cost structure as well as the revenue stream side. My open question to you is this: “What else does Captured Global do differently from your experience?”  I’d love to have your perspectives.

Captured Global Business Model Innovation Assessment
Captured Global Business Model Innovation Assessment

With this map of CG’s business model, it’s easier to see the game changing elements on Captured Global’s cost structure side:

  1. An internet based offering means little to no land, buildings, rent or fixed asset costs. This situation is very similar to the move of various high-tech companies to divest internal manufacturing operations and the transition to common workspaces to cut fixed asset costs.
  2. The use of digital files for photographs mean no inventory of prints and no space required to house that inventory. Digital inventory means more long tail niche oriented or personal taste demand.
  3. Reducing the sizes offered from 3 to 1 means trimming several skus. This simplification reduces operating costs.
  4. CG asks the artists themselves to recommend others for inclusion in the CG portfolio thereby reducing the costs and time associated with searching for new talent.
  5. The artist is responsible to load all of their collateral marketing information in the website, reducing  result costs of printing, storing and managing perishable collateral.

On the CG revenue side:

  1. The change in the offer model from limited editions to open editions means a potentially greater supply of photographs. However, the advantage of long tail economics of The Longer Long Tail  according to Chris Anderson is selling less of more.  That would lead me to suggest that more than 24 artists is better and that 9 images per artist could be too many.
  2. Lowering the price to a more affordable level means potentially more demand.
  3. Reducing the number of sizes offered shores up the value of the one size that remains.

While the quality of the photographic work and the game changing open edition and other elements are part of what makes this new model attractive to artists and collectors, I suspect that the element that is most difficult to copy is Peter Johnson’s ability to leverage his various collector, marketing and outdoorsman Rolodexes as well as leveraging the Rolodexes of his connections.  Personally, I would like to check in with Peter once a quarter or so to find out how the new business model is going and what changes he is making to make this a business model that works for all the stakeholders.

Blog entry, image and writing by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson @ 2012


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