National rugby union organization spearheads a new model for the sports image ecosystem, uncovering new advertising revenues and fan engagement opportunities

London UK, 5 July 2023: SmartFrame Technologies, a leading UK-based tech start-up that is redefining the digital image standard, has today announced its appointment as the official photography and image-distribution partner of New Zealand Rugby (NZR).

SmartFrame has enlisted the services of action press international – a leading photography service provider – led by Ulli Michel, former Global Pictures Editor of Reuters, to capture all official photography of the All Blacks, Black Ferns, Māori All Blacks, and NZR’s other Teams in Black.

SmartFrame has also partnered with leading digital asset management specialist picturemaxx, whose platform is used to store and distribute all images within the library.

The SmartFrame model assigns the rights to these images to NZR and allows the organization to profit from the revenues generated by occasional in-image advertising that will be displayed within the images. Under this new commercial model, publishers will be able to embed these images on their websites without charge, and if they participate in SmartFrame’s Publisher Program they will also be eligible to a share of in-image advertising revenue.

NZR’s imagery will still be available to fans and media organizations around the world via traditional photo agency subscriptions, but only publishers using official SmartFrame images will be able to access them for free. SmartFrame’s official images will be exclusively distributed online using the company’s innovative image-streaming technology.

The partnership provides a new media space for NZR’s sponsors and commercial partners, powered by SmartFrame’s in-image advertising system and an improved experience for fans and sports news consumers. Advertisers partnered with SmartFrame can associate with the NZR brand, reaching its fans and wider rugby audiences around the world with ads targeted to specific images, websites, geolocations, and devices. The result is high-impact, unmissable, contextual advertising campaigns in the heart of the editorial content fans are already consuming.

The digital advertising industry is expected to grow to $836bn by 2026. SmartFrame’s ad-funded model generates rich new revenue streams for publishers, photographers, and NZR by monetizing the audience viewing an official SmartFrame image as opposed to licensing the asset. The $4bn image licensing industry has been in decline for over a decade, due to low-cost licensing and mass misuse of JPEG images. Thanks to SmartFrame’s technology, content owners can now generate revenue every time images are viewed, ensuring they are once again compensated fairly for their work.

The partnership also allows NZR to regain ownership and control of its teams’ official photography – a game-changer in an ecosystem monopolized by