Getty Acquires Stockbyte For $135 Million

Posted on 4/10/2006 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Getty Images, Inc. has announced the acquisition of Ireland-based Pixel Images Holdings Limited, the parent company of Stockbyte and Stockdisc for $135 million in cash.

Getty is currently marketing 42,827 Stockbyte and Stockdisc images through its site and industry sources estimate that there may be between 60,000 and 80,000 total images in the Stockbyte collection. Getty has said that it already markets the majority of the collections of the two brands and looks to add the remainder during the current quarter. Other distributors who handle the Stockbyte collection claim that it is among the best selling of all the collections they handle.

Many of the photographers who produce RF for Getty brands have been concerned about falling returns-per-image since Getty acquired Digital Vision a year ago. At least one such photographer who in 2005 almost doubled the number of images he had on the site saw his average return-per-image drop from $147 at the end of 2004 to around $49 at the end of 2005. Other PhotoDisc shooters report similar drops.

In an explanation to photographers as to why Getty felt the need to acquire yet another RF brand the company provided three reasons for acquiring this collection of wholly-owned imagery.

  • We can give Customers more choice at different price points.
  • We will be able to create more innovative licensing models.
  • Crucially, we can extend our reach further into emerging platforms for imagery, like wireless and other non-print market segments, as broadband-enabled technologies create increased demand for visual content.

"Worldwide demand for imagery continues to grow as our customers increasingly explore new, image-rich communication platforms as a means to break through the clutter," said Jonathan Klein, Getty Images' co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. "The acquisition is in line with our strategy of acquiring and producing increased amounts of relevant wholly-owned imagery. The addition of the Stockbyte content will further enhance our ability to offer customers new licensing options, and will further extend our reach into the broadband-enabled and wireless platforms which are fast becoming a significant component of our customers' communications mix."

In 2005 the number of RF images Getty licensed per quarter jumped from 223,461 to 253,713, or 13.5%, but in Q4 the number of images licensed dropped compared to Q3. I attribute a significant portion of the annual growth to the acquisition of Digitial Vision and the adding to Getty's figures sales made by the more than 200 other distributors of Digital Vision content. With the addition of Stockbyte the same type of jump from sales of other distributors handling Stockbyte material might be anticipated.

In 2005 Getty earned $273 million in gross revenue from RF and I think the total market was somewhere in the range of $375 million. Thus, Getty owns almost 73% of the market already and with the addition of Stockbyte that percentage may go even higher. The average price per RF image jumped almost 14%, but most of that happened in Q1 2005. After the Q1 price increase the growth for the rest of the year was 3.5% indicating that the industry may be reaching a ceiling on the prices that can be charged for RF.

It is unclear at this time as to how much more imagery Jerry Kennelly and his team will be asked to produce for Getty Images, or whether Kennelly will remain with the company at all.

The Stockbyte acquisition is expected to be accretive to cash flow and breakeven to 2006 earnings per diluted share, post amortization of intangible assets and synergies. Following a transition period, Stockbyte and Stockdisc will be available exclusively through Getty Images and its channel partners.

Copyright © 2006 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff