Need for regulatory oversight on AI-generated images usage: Deepak Verma ImagesBazaar

In an exclusive interview with, Verma, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of ImagesBazaar Group, provides insights into the framework of ImagesBazaar and what sets it apart from other similar platforms. Additionally, he addresses the challenges posed by AI emerging as the next potential threat

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Deepak Verma

Deepak Verma

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Delhi: As the usage of GenAI-created images with human faces increases, it will create further challenges in the absence of a governing body regulating AI, believes Deepak Verma, COO at ImagesBazaar, an online resource portal of Indian stock photos and videos.

He explained, 'AI poses a threat due to its capability of generating images resembling real individuals without seeking proper permissions from them. As the usage of GenAI-created images with human faces increases, it will create further challenges in the absence of a governing body regulating AI.'

Therefore, Verma advocates for a stronger policy that allows GenAI to create images with humans only with the complete consent of the individual.'

However, he also told that ImagesBazaar aims to leverage artificial intelligence to provide improved services to its customers.

Launched 19 years ago by Sandeep Maheshwari as an online resource portal with over 8000+ Indian stock photos and videos, ImagesBazaar now boasts over 1.5 million photos."

Verma outlined the platform's goals, with a particular focus on their subscription model. He explained, "We offer a subscription model that allows users to access our images for a nominal fee and utilise them across various platforms."

The cost and discounts are based on the image size selected. For example, a large-sized image package might cost around Rs 32,000 and if one acquires 50 or 60 images, customers would receive a 50% discount on that."

He added, "By obtaining the necessary permissions and licenses from us, users can seamlessly incorporate our images into their brand promotions and other projects."

Verma also emphasised affordability as a key priority for the platform. "Our primary goal is to stay affordable while taking into account market standards and customer spending willingness. As a result, we've structured our pricing to be accessible, ensuring it aligns well with what our customers are prepared to invest," he explained.

Verma also said that the company’s revenue has increased to Rs 25 crore from Rs 2 crore in the last 15 years. 

Verma shared that the platform’s silver, gold, and platinum segments have been its solid attractions. “We focus more on these segments, which feature premium models and well-known faces,” he added.

ImagesBazaar relies on the uniqueness and premium quality of its platform to distinguish itself from competitors.

Verma pointed out that while many competitors operate on a microstock model, ImagesBazaar does not. He emphasised the difference, explaining, "Microstock images are typically priced between $5 and $15. In contrast, our prices range from $200 to $300, even for Indian-centric images, which are less common on other platforms."

Highlighting the company's relevancy in the photo stock industry, he added, "Our commitment goes beyond just providing images, we see ourselves as a service industry. We host great customer support and efficient developers. That's why agencies, both new and established, choose to stay with us."

Taking BestMediaInfo to the ratio of exclusive and stock photo buyers of ImagesBazaar, Verma emphasised, "Exclusive pictures are typically on-demand or by request. If we analyse the history of our images, approximately 80% of them are completely exclusive to our platform. The remaining 20% are created by contributors, making it a 70-30 split between exclusive and contributed images."

Verma also emphasised the crucial factors brands should consider when selecting images from stock photo platforms. He highlighted brands need to focus on:

  • Relatability in their image choices,
  • Authenticity to ensure genuine representation,
  • Freshness that aligns with current trends

"It's not just about purchasing images outright," he added. "Brands need to assess whether the depicted scenarios resonate with their audience and effectively convey the intended message. They must ensure that the chosen content fully delivers the message they intend to communicate."

Last year, Manisha Kapoor, CEO of the Advertising Standards Council of India, highlighted biases in the imagery on ImagesBazaar, pointing out the platform's lack of diversity and emphasising the need for better representation. 

When BestMediaInfo asked how ImagesBazaar addressed this concern, Verma responded, "Regarding racial diversity, Kapoor was looking for a specific group of five or six children of a certain racial background, which we didn’t have at the time. However, we do offer the option to assemble groups of images upon request. Our team is actively working to fill these gaps. We have a dedicated department focused on identifying trends and addressing areas where our image selection is lacking."

Further highlighting, he said, "Individuals from such diverse racial backgrounds are often reluctant to sign up or present themselves on our platform, and we do not force them to do so. As a result, we have a limited number of such images. We only create specific shoots if there is a direct request, which means they don't often appear in a broad array of our search results."

During a discussion on the significance of visual content in brand storytelling, he emphasised, "Visual content plays a crucial role in advertising. The primary importance is often the model or person depicted, as they convey the message directly through their expression and demeanour. This underscores the importance of images in conveying messages effectively."