action press joins forces with SmartFrame to become the Official Photographer of New Zealand Rugby

action press agrees deal with SmartFrame to deliver sports photography services and sets sights on a transformative content model, using advanced image-distribution technology


action press has finalized a contract with SmartFrame Technologies – an innovative image-streaming platform that is redefining the digital image standard – to manage all official photography for New Zealand Rugby.

The collaboration sees action press take charge of capturing imagery across all New Zealand Rugby national teams, including the All Blacks, Black Ferns, and Māori All Blacks. Distributed via SmartFrame’s advanced digital image-streaming solution, assets will drive greater fan engagement through high-res and interactive viewing features such as full screen view and hyper-zoom, along with new data and audience insights, and impactful sponsorship placements and contextual advertising that will provide New Zealand Rugby with far greater compensation through SmartFrame’s ad funded model as opposed to the traditional image licensing model. The photographers and publishers also enjoy a share in the rich new sponsorship and advertising revenues – a first in the media ecosystem. The new model will also empower photographers, with better day rates than those offered by existing models and all booking fees are directly passed on to photographers with no management or booking fees charged to New Zealand Rugby.

Operating in 120 countries, action press is committed to supporting content owners and compensating them fairly for their craft. Offering an interface between clients and a 5,000-strong global talent network, it strives to broker clear and mutually beneficial agreements. The $4bn image licensing market is not as lucrative as it used to be for creators, and with falling license costs and exploitation of JPEG images, the industry increasingly needs to seek out alternative ways to fuel sustainable funding for photographers and other content creators.

“Photography retains its ability to seize attention and inspire web users, especially in high-passion areas such as sports,” comments Action Press CEO Ulli Michel. “Content owners and producers, however, must adapt to innovative models to secure future survival. It’s estimated that average stock licenses have fallen from $268 in 2006 to $4.21 by 2020, so it is clear that urgent adjustment is needed. We are excited about this partnership and how it will drive change across image agencies and sports brands worldwide.”

Designed to monetise image views, rather than relying on set license fees, SmartFrame’s approach represents the first step to improving the ecosystem for photographers and sports brands. By giving publishers access to host high-quality images at no cost, this new model ensures fair compensation by facilitating efficient delivery of engaging, interactive, and multi-format in-image ads, and dividing subsequent revenues between all parties involved. In addition to giving New Zealand Rugby full ownership and control over the images captured, the model will also safeguard user privacy by powering ad targeting using non-personal image, website, and geolocation data.

Michel summarizes: “SmartFrame’s ad-supported model presents a genuinely viable path to not only long-term success, but an opportunity for our industry to thrive once again. We’re delighted to be joining forces and generating exceptional and exclusive imagery for New Zealand Rugby that will be leveraged to drive fair rewards for our photographers, our agency, and much-loved teams.”

Rob Sewell, CEO of SmartFrame Technologies adds: “Sports brands and photographers have long had little jurisdiction over their imagery, with IP too often not being assigned to the Sports brands who pay for the photography services. We’re spearheading a game-changing shift that will break this cycle, putting content owners back in the driving seat and allowing them to create, control, and  maximize the value from their assets. New Zealand Rugby is among the first sports leaders to recognise the potential of the fast-expanding digital advertising market to better support sustainable content production. We look forward to working with some of the world’s most renowned teams and Action Press on setting a different blueprint for ad-powered, image-centric, and independent revenue generation.”

The New Zealand Rugby Official Photography Collection can be found here:


About SmartFrame:

Founded in 2015, SmartFrame Technologies is a London-based software provider that’s redefining the digital image standard. Its SmartFrame platform allows content owners and brands to protect their assets and present them in the best possible way, while also allowing publishers to source and embed high-quality images, and for everyone involved to generate new revenue streams by way of in-image advertising.

About action press:

action press international GmbH (Hamburg) is active in 120 countries and, together with partners, relies on a network of around 5,000 photographers. Together with ddp Media GmbH, also based in Hamburg, it belongs to action press AG, based in Frankfurt am Main. With a stock of more than 200 million photos and videos, the photo agency group has one of the largest databases of digital media assets in the world. action press is considered a leading brand for news, sports and entertainment content. ddp is the cross-departmental quality provider of photos, which includes the brands ddp images, Picture Press, Intertopics and Food Centrale as well as the photo agency Stella Pictures (Stockholm). The board of action press AG is made up of Ulli Michel and Prof. Moritz Hunzinger, the CEO of ddp Media GmbH is Vicente Poveda.




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