Visual China Group Acquires Corbis

Posted on 1/22/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Corbis and Visual China Group (“VCG”; Shenzhen Stock Exchange:000681.SZ) today jointly announced that Unity Glory International Ltd. (“Unity Glory”), an affiliate of VCG owned by VCG’s major shareholders, has acquired the assets and brands of Corbis’ Images division, one of the world’s leading image archives and content licensing businesses. VCG is China’s leading visual communications and new media company and among the largest businesses in the image industry worldwide. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Under the terms of the agreement, Unity Glory will own and manage the images and motion archives, names and trademarks associated with the Corbis Images, Corbis Motion and Veer licensing brands. VCG will be responsible for the licensing of all images associated with these brands in China and around the world. This includes the renowned Bettmann and Sygma Archives, but does not include Corbis Entertainment (to be rebranded) and Splash.

As result of the sale, Getty Images and VCG have announced a global distribution partnership. VCG has been exclusively distributing Getty Images content in China for over a decade. During that time Getty has had an agreement with VCG to license its content through Getty’s approximately 330 image partner relationships around the world, including NBC Universal, BBC Worldwide and AFP.

After a transition period, Getty Images will exclusively offer Corbis creative stills, Veer and Corbis Motion content and Corbis archival and documentary content to its global customer base outside of China.

When it comes to historical photography the new offering will combine Getty Images' renowned Hulton Archive, the largest privately held archive in the world with an estimated 80 million images dating back to the beginning of photography, together with the Bettmann and Sygma archives from Corbis.

The company will create specific collections to house this new Corbis content on, where it will sit alongside the content from Getty Images’ own staff photographers and its network of over 200,000 contributors.

What The Sale Does Not Include?

The sale does not include the three Corbis Entertainment businesses — the Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), Splash and Greenlight, its rights clearance and representation business. Corbis Entertainment will be rebranded under a new name in the coming months. Corbis will focus on building and growing its entertainment advertising business under a different brand.

What Are The Next Steps?

VCG and Getty Images will immediately begin work to migrate Corbis content and will complete the migration as quickly as possible to ensure a seamless transition for customers, contributors and other partners. During the transition, the content will continue to be available via Corbis websites and sales staff. VCG and Getty Images will provide more details on this process and timeline in the coming weeks.

Amy Jun Liang, Chief Executive Officer of VCG, said, “Corbis is a world-leading and widely esteemed brand in the image industry, and we are thrilled to add this treasure-house of valuable image assets to our premium brand portfolios. The transaction strengthens our dominant position in China’s image industry, enhances our core competence in the global high-end image market, and marks a significant milestone on our journey of globalization. As one of the most well-established companies in the industry, we work to capture the evolving demand for visual communications around the world with first-class visual content, unparalleled customer experience, and in collaboration with our extensive network of partners.”

For Corbis, the sale of Corbis Images accelerates the company’s transformation into an entertainment advertising business with a particular focus on product integration, providing global brands and media agencies with end-to-end access to film, TV, OTT, digital and celebrity product placement opportunities.
For more information about the changes see the press release or this link.

Copyright © 2016 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:  


  • Dennis Gilbert Posted Jan 27, 2016
    Dear Jim... I am not surprised the are '0' comments here.. I paid you for copying and pasting...! Dennis I would have thought that "UNITY GLORY" BUYS CORBIS would be a better headline -- who the hell is UNITY GLORY and why should they have my beautiful pictures????? some of your opinions and knowledge would be nice here

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