Getty Pushing RM/RF Buyers To Use iStock

Posted on 5/7/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

A subscriber just pointed out that at the bottom of the search return page on they are now encouraging customers to go to iStock. He did a search for travel and at the bottom of the first page after the customer has looked at only 100 thumbnails she is encouraged in big bold letters to:

Search “travel” on

Click on it and the customer is taken directly to iStock for the same search term. At the bottom of the iStock search page there is a similar notice in much smaller type that reads:

“Can't find the right files? See Search Tips or try this search at for images or videos.”

The photographer concluded that, “microstock must be for Getty more profitable than macrostock.”

I don’t think that is the case, although it seems likely that this move might push more gettyimages customers to start using iStock and as a result reduce the company’s overall revenue. On the other hand it is hard to imagine that many of the customers who use aren’t well aware of iStock, and vice versa.

Given the threat from Shutterstock, Getty may feel that it has to something to try to get more people to use the iStock offering. But, it is hard to see how this move could in any way improve the overall revenue picture of Getty Images.

Based on what Getty has been telling investors the Creative Images section of (not including Editorial and Video) generates about $300 million annually. About half that, ($150 million) is RM and the rest RF.

The Midstock division, which includes iStock, Thinkstock and, also generates about $300 million. I think iStock is responsible for about $250 million of that.

Back in 2006 when iStock was only a very minor part of total revenue Creative Images generated $643 million so it has declined a lot. I think iStock’s peak was in 2010 and at that time I believe it was generating about $350 million in sales. So it has also declined.

Copyright © 2014 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:  


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