GRANGER recently adopted SmartFrame for the display and protection of its online archives. We speak to CEO and owner, Morgan Dejoux, to find out more.

GRANGER has been supplying high-quality images to publishers, academic institutions and many others for almost 60 years.

The company has come a long way since its formation in 1964, when filing cabinets stacked with photographs and everything being shipped by hand was the norm. Its digital transformation started relatively early in the 1990s, before a more significant push in the early 2000s allowed it to strengthen its offering for a wider audience.

So where do GRANGER’s images end up being used today? “Our core business is editorial use and our biggest market is the education market,” Morgan Dejoux, Granger CEO and owner, explains. “We’re in a lot of textbooks, but we’re trying to do more with documentaries and broadcast.”

Dejoux himself became involved in the company in 2014, and recently decided to integrate SmartFrame into its website. As with many SmartFrame adopters, it was primarily the opportunity to provide a better user experience that encouraged Dejoux to bring the technology into his site, but another key factor was the ability to reach and monetize a new demographic.

“I’m trying to create a new revenue stream with the embeds and the [in-image] advertising,” explains Dejoux. “Other than improving the user experience, that was the thrust of my interest in SmartFrame, trying to tap into a market we haven’t tapped into before. I’m keen not to cannibalize our existing licensing business, but perhaps these embeds could be complementary to the main business. I’d like to try to build it up over time.”

The company has also branched out to two other portals, Granger Academic (below) and Granger Art on Demand. “Granger Art On Demand is just for personal users, more of a B2C site,” says Dejoux. “Granger Academic is more for brand awareness. It offers free access to a large portion of our archive for educational and non-commercial use, and we decided to make it available to broaden exposure to the GRANGER brand.”


Attention to detail

The past year has seen organizations of all sizes accelerate the shift to digital platforms for more of their operations, and exploring new ways of working that will better serve them in future. So how has the pandemic affected the company? “In the first quarter of 2020 we noticed a drop,” Dejoux explains, “but after that, things picked up. Of course, our production flow has changed a little as we’re not in the office, so we’re not digitizing as much.”

But normality is returning for the company – and being nimble has helped. “The business is standing strong and we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” he says. “I’m less concerned now than I was earlier in 2020. We’re a small family-owned business, with five full-time employees and three part-timers,” he adds.

Being a small company has the additional benefit of allowing Dejoux to keep an eye on details. “I’m still invested in the business in the production sense, trying to create a great user experience in terms of search yields,’ he says. “Creating records and properly keywording images is very important.”


Understanding the audience

GRANGER has been using SmartFrame for around two months or so, and has managed to convert around 25% of its images into SmartFrames. “We work with other, oversees agencies and suppliers – The British Library, for example – who provide images to us,” Dejoux explains, “but we haven’t activated those yet as we want to see how it goes with our own content.”

So what kind of impact has SmartFrame had? “I definitely think it’s an improvement,” says Dejoux. “Not needing to have a watermark, for example, and having nice, high-resolution images. We’ve enabled the full-screen option and [Hyper] Zoom too.”

Furthermore, while the Granger Art on Demand site is a separate portal in its own right, Dejoux also highlights that, where applicable, the ability to include a call-to-action button on SmartFrames hosted on Granger’s primary site allows users to be quickly directed from images to Art On Demand, should they wish to purchase prints and other products.

Of course, having the option to use certain features is one thing, but it’s only by analyzing the data from these SmartFrames that one can develop an understanding of what’s actually necessary and useful. “I’ve looked at the Insights section on the dashboard and by far the most used feature is the full-screen mode,” Dejoux says. “There have been some shares on social media too, although this probably isn’t something our users have a great need for.”

Does he imagine SmartFrame will be used more widely across the sites? “Yes. The Art on Demand site is more a white-label site, and we don’t manage the back end of it ourselves, but it’s already been implemented on the Granger Academic site.”


Find out more about GRANGER – Historical Picture Archive



Related articles