Thought Equity Motion Realizes Commercial Potential

July 5, 2011

By Julie Gallagher

© Wright Brothers Films/ Thought Equity Motion

Stills captured from a video produced for Thought Equity Motion’s Storyline Collection. Shot by Andrew Wright of Wright Brothers Films.

While video opportunities for still photographers abound, countless motion clips never realize their commercial potential. Instead they idle their days on one’s hard drive; filmed, saved and forgotten while an opportunity to monetize video remains largely untapped.

Host to the largest online footage library, Thought Equity Motion is the place to get your foot in the door to realize this potential. “They’re the largest and they’ve got the breadth of the category. If someone is looking for real content they go to Thought Equity,” says contributor Andrew Wright, who submits about 2,000 lifestyle clips (sans audio) to its extensive library each year.

Wright is one of more than 400 media-rights holders whose footage is licensed through Contributors range from large media companies like National Geographic to independent artists like himself who supplement their income with $50,000 to $400,000 annually by submitting high-quality footage covering a variety of subject matter.

Thought Equity’s global sales force licenses news, sports, entertainment and creative content to leading producers in advertising, film, TV, publishing and interactive media. So on any given day clips reach viewers ranging from moviegoers to iPad users, the world over.

Videographers are paid quarterly with royalties based on the number of clips licensed and what they’ll be used for. For example, just as with rights-managed still stock photography, videos incorporated into a feature film will bring in more revenue than say a clip used in an internal presentation.

To ensure he’s submitting the most marketable pieces, Wright analyzes what’s currently available on and what’s most appealing to advertisers. He urges photographers to get involved and to do the same. “You’ll have a lot more success if you figure out how a shot might get used, be it in a documentary, an editorial piece or in advertising,” he says. Film of a boy licking a Popsicle and smiling, for instance, denotes happiness, childhood and innocence so it may get picked up for a healthcare, bank or insurance ad, he says.

Wright’s clips often get hits since he anticipates trends. “If the big issues are wind farms and green and new energy then look at how many shots of wind farms and wind energy there are (on Thought Equity Motion) and come up with something unique and different,” he says. Trends reported in trade magazines inform the style with which Wright shoots.

Thought Equity Motion isn’t just for videographers says Wright, who has gotten his photographer sister hooked on the process and says it was easy for her to make the transition to video. “She’s a pure photographer, so to speak, but she was seeing what I was doing and how easy it was and said ‘what do I have to do,” he says.

One thing is to continually come up with new ideas for clips, says Kevin Schaff, CEO of Thought Equity Motion. Rather than work with those looking to submit b-roll from a single production Thought Equity is interested in producers who have ongoing plans to shoot new content, he says. The company actively seeks those driven to shoot video that is in high demand.

“Content that is non-replicable and shows a ‘moment in time’ like sports, news and entertainment/celebrity video, tends to be the most valuable from a licensing perspective,” says Schaff. “Other popular footage categories include art-directed lifestyle, aerials and extreme weather/storm chasing videos.”

Anyone can send inquiries about adding their content to Thought Equity’s collection by emailing: In order to be approved, a content questionnaire must be completed and 15 to 20 clips of sample material viewable online, submitted with the survey.

“We review the content for quality, metadata, uniqueness and ultimately measure it against the demand from our customer base for the content. The review process takes three to four weeks and we’ll notify producers of their status at that time,” says Schaff.