Is TIB in Getty's Future?

Posted on 9/14/1999 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)




September 14, 1999

Rumors abound on both sides of the Atlantic that Getty has completed a deal to

purchase The Image Bank from Kodak. There has been no announcement on Getty's web

site and no confirmation from any of the parties.

One possible reason for that lack of an announcement is that Bill Gates may now be in

the play and Kodak is still negotiating for the best deal. It is hard to imagine

that Gates would allow Getty to get such a commanding presence in the market without

at least making an offer.

At the very least it appears that Kodak is ready to sell TIB. It goes without saying

the Getty would be interested in buying -- for the right price. Kodak may want cash

rather than a lot of Getty stock, even though Getty stock is now at almost $24 a

share. The acquisition price will undoubtedly be the largest we have seen so far in

this industry.

Some photographers have asked why Getty would want TIB. Here are what I see as some

of the advantages for Getty.

  • Owning TIB eliminates competition and gives them better control over what user

    will be allowed to see.

  • The biggest plus to owning TIB will be the acquisition of TIB Films and Archive

    Films division to add to their Energy Film.

    This would give them a commanding position in the stock footage market.

  • Up to now illustration has not been a strong interest of Getty. They pick up a

    strong illustration division with the acquisition of TIB.

  • Getty would also pick up Artville, TIB Royalty Free division, which would

    probably fold into EyeWire -- fold into Photo Disc -- etc. etc. It would tend to

    consolidate the RF competition as well as the Rights Protected competition.

  • Getty's growth has been principally by acquisition, not by expanding the market

    for any of their brands. This fits neatly in their acquisition strategy. Some Getty

    investors on the Yahoo message board are asking if Getty will ever be able to

    actually grow the market.

    What's It Do For The Photographers?

  • TIB would effectively become part of TSI because the work of both companies

    will be on the new "Getty One" hub directed toward creative professionals.

    The two companies might retain separate editing departments, but it would seem likely

    that the catalog philosophy and certainly the on-line philosophy would be totally


  • Getty needs a steadily increasing number of images coming from a broad cross

    section of creators so they get a full range of possible solutions for any creative

    problem. On the other hand they want to limit the amount of new material they put

    on-line or in print catalogs.

    This probably means that they will continue to "cherry pick" taking very few images

    from each photographer and locking up the best work of as many photographers as

    possible. They are likely to be even more selective than they are now. As one Tony

    Stone photographer says, "Is that possible?"

  • American shooters for TIB get only 30% of gross sales from every office around

    the world except New York and Boston. Will the TIB shooters be offered the standard

    TSI contract which is a better deal for them? Will the TSI shooter be pressured to

    accept even lower percentages to conform with those being paid to TIB photographers?

    Will TIB photographers get preference in catalog selection because they are willing

    to accept lower percentage than TSI shooters?

    Online USA

    Another rumor coming from The Seattle Times is that Getty Images has acquired Online

    USA, a leading provider of celebrity news and event photographer on the web. The

    deal is said to be worth about $2 million, but still has not been announced publicly

    by Getty Images.

    Online USA has about 30,000 images online. They specialize in fast-breaking

    celebrity news coverage and provide photos to hundreds of magazines and newspapers

    worldwide. It will become part of the Press and Editorial Division of Getty whose

    other brands include Liaison Agency, Allsport and Hulton Getty.

    Real Networks

    In an effort to try to reach consumers Getty announced today an agreement with

    RealNetworks, Inc. to connect the more than 70 million users of RealNetworks products

    to Getty Images' visual content on the Internet.

    As part of the agreement, Getty Images' leading brands, commencing with EyeWire,

    PhotoDisc, and Hulton Getty, are featured visual content providers for RealSlideshow

    Plus, enabling users to easily create streaming media presentations using a broad

    array of contemporary stock and editorial photographs, illustrations, and clip art.

    Through the RealNetworks' web site at, RealSlideShow Plus customers can

    select from a collection of thousands of free images for use in their online

    broadcasts. RealNetworks develops and markets software products and services

    designed to enable users of personal computers and other consumer electronic devices

    to send and receive audio, video and other multimedia services using the Web.

    The complete libraries of EyeWire, PhotoDisc, and Hulton Getty - consisting of

    hundreds of thousands of royalty-free and rights-protected photographs, footage and

    audio clips, illustrations, and clip art - are available to all RealNetworks

    customers for purchase through numerous links on RealNetworks' web site.

    Additionally, selected images and clips from Getty Images' collections can be

    purchased through RealStore at

    Beginning in November, EyeWire will feature and resell RealSlideshowPlus,

    RealProducer, and other RealNetworks products through its web site

    and in EyeWire's award-winning catalog.

    "Getty Images offers RealNetworks users, particularly RealSlideshow and RealProducer

    customers, all the components they need photographs, footage, illustrations, clip

    art, and audio to create media rich, online presentations and broadcasts," said Len

    Jordan, Senior Vice President, Media Systems, RealNetworks. "Businesses rely on a

    hybrid of visual and audio content to communicate ideas, and Getty Images is the

    leading worldwide provider that supports these diverse needs with its family of

    industry-leading brands."

    "The impressive royalty-free content that Getty Images has provided offers a

    wonderful opportunity for RealSlideshow Plus customers to easily and immediately get

    started," said Ben Rotholtz, General Manager, Media Systems, RealNetworks. "The

    quality and breadth of Getty Images' offerings also ensures that customers will come

    back to Getty Images as their creative and business needs grow."

    The agreement with RealNetworks illustrates how Getty Images leverages its many

    branded collections to offer compelling solutions for both strategic partners and

    customers. In addition to its exceptional breadth of content, Getty Images' focus on

    e-commerce capability and seamless Internet access to its collections enables the

    company to easily link its product offerings with complementary online brands, such

    as RealNetworks, expanding its customer reach.

    "The partnership with RealNetworks is a clear example of how Getty Images is creating

    opportunities for both creative professionals and business users to access great

    digital photography, audio and video," said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and Chief

    Executive Officer of Getty Images. "Partnerships, such as this one with

    RealNetworks, accelerate our strategy of creating online vertical portals for both

    these key audiences."

  • Copyright © 1999 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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