314 GETTY IMAGES/NGIC DEAL SURPRISES FOREIGN AGENTS
June 2, 2000
The gettyone.com representation of the National Geographic Image Collection
(NGIC) file is causing quite a stir outside the U.S. The press release
implies to some readers that gettyone.com has the "exclusive" right to
distribute National Geographic images worldwide. In fact, the only rights
they have, at this time for the first batch of 2000 images, are to distribute
them in the U.S. market.
Since many U.S. clients interested in NGIC images would be likely to contact
National Geographic directly, rather than going through Getty, it would appear
that the U.S. market would be less of an opportunity for Getty than the
NGIC has contracts with more than 26 agencies outside the U.S. to represent
their images in particular territories. Some of these agencies and
territories include: Premium Stock, Germany; Images Colour Library, UK;
Slide File, Ireland; Fototeca, Portugal; Stock Image, France; Prisma, Switzerland; Marka, Italy;
Contrast PhotoAgentur, Austria; Van Parys Media, Belgium; Horizon
International, Australia; First Light, Canada and Mon Tresor, Japan.
Some foreign agents tell us that the press release is "causing big
problems" for them. Local trade associations and clients are contacting them
and saying, "I understand you will no longer be representing Geographic."
Geographic has produced two print catalogs -- in 1996 and 1999 -- which
contain the 2,000 images that will initially be posted on gettyone.com. With
the first catalog most of the foreign agents have seven year exclusive
contracts to license the images in their territories. In general they have
five year contracts on the second catalog. Maura Mulvihill, Director of NGIC,
says, "We will honor each agreement."
Roger Ressmeyer, VP
of Getty Images says, "While the gettyone.com site can be accessed from
anywhere, at this time the only territory choices allowed during online
licensing are in North America. Our clients are formally registered and must
agree to the terms that are offered. For now there are no other regions
available, and that is very clear during the online licensing process."
Getty intends to eventually expand the marketing of gettyone.com worldwide,
but no date has been set.
Ressmeyer continued, "gettyone.com has online global rights to distribute
National Geographic Image Collection (NGIC) images that are cleared for global
distribution. When NGIC sends images to gettyone.com that are not in the NGIC
catalogs and are not otherwise encumbered, they will be distributed globally."
Getty Images has an exclusive worldwide e-commerce arrangement for images
other than the 2000 NGIC catalog images. This may make it difficult for any
foreign agency other than Getty Images to distribute a future print catalog
produced by NGIC because images in such a catalog will likely also be
available on gettyone.com.
In summary, at this time gettyone.com only has U.S. rights to the initial
2,000 images (from the two catalogs) that NGIC will supply. Getty Images
expects NGIC to later supply them with other non-catalog images and they will
have online global rights to those images. It also seems that if a client of
one of the foreign agencies that currently represents NGIC, comes to that
agency and requests an image not currently in one of the print catalogs, that
agency will still have the right to get that image from NGIC and make the sale
-- even if the image is one of those on gettyone.com.
When gettyone.com is eventually opened up outside the U.S., it is unclear how
Getty will block foreign clients from viewing or licensing the Geographic
images as opposed to any other image on gettyone.com. Ressmeyer said that if
gettyone.com gets a request for license of a NGIC image that they don't
represent they will refer that request to NGIC who could then forward the
request on to the appropriate local agent. Ressmeyer said, "Gettyone.com will
not take any royalty for referring requests back to National Geographic Image
Collection for imagery gettyone.com does not represent."
Mr. Mulvihill indicated that once the 2,000 images are up and working they
might slowly expand their representation on gettyone to between 6,000 and
10,000 images, but that the bulk of the 10.5 million collection would never be
made available on this on-line site.
In theory, if a client in the U.S. calls gettyone.com and requests a specific
image seen in National Geographic, but not one of the 2,000 images on
gettyone.com, gettyone.com could request that image from NGIC and complete the
sale. On the other hand one would expect this scenario to occur infrequently
since most image buyers in the U.S. with a special request would know where to
find National Geographic and go to them directly.
Ressmeyer points out, "gettyone.com provides hundreds of thousands of
on-line clients, both large and small, with nearly instantaneous access to the
world's greatest imagery. We expect this relationship to substantially expand
NGIC's client base."
Sources estimate that current foreign sales (not including the U.S.) from the
two NGIC catalogs are less than $2 million per year -- and maybe significantly
While gettyone.com is only available in the U.S. the Stone and PhotoDisc sites
are fully localized and are available in
multiple languages and currencies. In the first quarter of 2000,
approximately 67% of Getty Images' online sales came from North America.