Where Is The Best Place To License Images?

Posted on 4/10/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

If you want to license an image from Getty Images for use in the United Kingdom is it better to license the use in Canada or India? Recently, Kiratsinh Jadeja priced the same image for the same usage in both countries. He discovered that if he licensed the use in India the cost would be less than half the Canadian price. In either case he could legally use the image in the UK. Learn why.

The first thing we need to recognize is that in order to be sensitive to local national markets Getty adjusts the base price in its algorithm for each market based on the local economy. All the other factors for type or use, size, placement, circulation, etc. remain the same in every market and work off of the base starting price.

Recently, while trying to determine where to purchase an image that would be used in the United Kingdom Kiratsinh Jadeja priced the image on Getty's Canada website: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/42878955/Getty%20RM%20Pricing%20-%20Canada.png and on Getty's India website: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/42878955/Getty%20RM%20Pricing%20-%20India.JPG.

The price in Canada was $7,850.00 CAD and in India, after converting the Indian pricing to Canadian Dollars, it was only $3,286.89 CAD. He wrote Getty asking why the price in India was less than half the Canadian price for the exact same usage in the same country (United Kingdom).

Getty answered: "The pricing any local market will bear varies greatly from country to country and it would be very easy to price ourselves out of the market if we are not sensitive to the local economies. Regional sales offices have better awareness of their markets and carefully balance prices accordingly."

Customers using the Getty Images price calculator find that there are three broad categories of information – Image usage, Usage specs and Target Market -- that Getty collects to determine an RM price. Changes in any of the sub-categories of Image usage or Usage specs will alter the price in proportional and understandable ways.

In the Target market category there seems to be an assumption that wherever the buyer is located that is the first country where the buyer intends to use the image. In some cases buyers may also want to use the image in other countries as well. The price goes up depending on the number of countries in which they want to use the image – regardless of which countries they happen to be.

To test this go to www.gettyimages.com, search for any RM image and use the price calculator to determine a price. Put any set of parameters into Image usage and Usage specs. Then pick any Territory and Industry and get a price.

Now, edit the Target market results leaving the Image usage and Usage parameters exactly as they were. Pick any other single territory, deleting the first territory you chose. The price will remain the same. If you pick any two territories the price goes up a little. Pick any three and it goes up a little more.

The interesting thing is to pick three territories – United States, United Kingdom and Germany -- and get a price. Then go back in and pick Afghanistan, Albania and Algeria after removing the first three chosen. The price will remain the same. That price is controlled by the base price for the local country where the customer licensing the image is located, regardless of where the image will actually be used.

Buyer’s Choice

So if you're a buyer anywhere in the world what have you learned? If you use any volume of images you need to arrange to license usage rights through India. You hire an Indian company to work on your behalf. Whenever you need to license an image from Getty you supply your Indian representative with the image number. The representative licenses the rights you need and pays in rupees. The representative downloads the digital file and delivers it to your company. Your representative gets a commission and you have a substantial savings over what you might have paid to license the image directly. All this is perfectly legal.

Of course it results in a dramatic loss of revenue for Getty and the Image Creators.

Would anyone go to this trouble? There are indications that lots of international companies have begun hiring Indian companies to do some of their web design work. There could be lots of reasons for this, but these companies are certainly saving money on the images they license.

It is also worth reviewing the Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons case. Kirtsaeng purchased textbooks in Thailand at Thai prices and re-sold enough of them on eBay to generate $900,000 in total sales. His profits for the effort were about $100,000.

Another thing to consider is that there might be other small countries where the base price is even lower than it is in India. The only way to find that out would be to access the Getty site through such a country’s local Internet and do comparative shopping.

If people can legally buy a product in one country for much less than what they would have to pay to purchase it in another country. And if they can easily ship the product from one country to another at low, or no, cost then some people will figure out that this activity is a good business to be in.

Copyright © 2013 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 www.selling-stock.com, 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: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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