The Associated Press said Wednesday that it has entered into a partnership with WhoSay Inc., a company that helps celebrities manage interactions with fans through social networks and traditional media outlets.
The AP will give celebrities who are members of WhoSay the option to provide exclusive, personal photos and videos to the AP for licensing to major media companies worldwide.
The AP will also provide photo services at events upon the request of WhoSay members. The members will own the images while giving the AP the ability to license them.
WhoSay has hundreds of film, television and sports personalities who are clients, including Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Tom Hanks, Rihanna and Sofia Vergara. The company was cofounded by talent agency Creative Artists Agency, with funding from investors including Amazon Investments LLC, Greylock Partners and High Peaks Ventures.
The company puts celebrities in greater control of _and offers the opportunity to profit from_ their photographic lives. It also allows them to spread their social media posts easily across sites like Twitter and Facebook. As an example, Vergara posted a picture of a family lunch in Miami last month. The photo has a copyright symbol, indicating she owns it and can make money from it if, say, a magazine wants to publish it.
WhoSay has also agreed to allow AP journalists to post photos and videos onto its platform for distribution onto social networks. Twenty AP journalists will initially participate in the agreement.
"We continue to look for new ways to innovate in the social media space, and this agreement does so in the photo marketplace and with our journalists," said Lou Ferrara, vice president and managing editor who oversees AP's social media efforts.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Founded in 1846, The Associated Press is the world's largest source of independent information. On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from AP.