Getty Images Reports E-Commerce Success

Posted on 2/24/1999 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



February 24, 1999

February 9, 1999 - Getty Images, Inc. has reported earning for the fourth

quarter of 1998 at $50.1 million. This was 96 percent over the fourth quarter

of 1997. Total 1998 sales were $185.1 million.

Electronic commerce sales, in the quarter, reached more than 15 percent of total

sales. Digital sales (including CD-ROM sales) in the quarter were $18 million,

representing 36 percent of total sales. Digital sales for the year were $59

million, representing 32 percent of total sales.

In the fourth quarter, Getty's largest brands, PhotoDisc and Tony Stone Images,

performed well and showed particular strength in electronic commerce. The

electronic commerce sales of PhotoDisc, acquired in February 1998, increased by

92 percent in the fourth quarter over the equivalent quarter of 1997 and

e-commerce sales accounted for 47 percent of total sales in North America.

In the fourth quarter, more than 15 percent of total sales, or about $7.5

million, were e-commerce sales. TSI launched full e-commerce in October 1998

and has exceeded the company's expectations. Over five percent of Tony Stone

Images' North American sales were generated online by the end of December 1998

and, of these, 25 percent were new customers.

This initial success for Tony Stone Images continued into January 1999 when

e-commerce sales in North America represented over 10 percent of total sales.

Sales on, in January 1999 alone, equaled total

e-commerce sales for Tony Stone Images in the whole of the fourth quarter of


It should be noted that "full electronic commerce" does not necessarily mean

payment by fixed fee by credit card and on-line delivery. While the sites offer

this capability, it is believed that in a significant percentage of cases the

TSI fee was negotiated and that delivery was by some other means other than

direct on-line delivery. When questioned on this point sources were unable to

provide clarification.

E-commerce sales at PhotoDisc in the fourth quarter of 1998 represented 37

percent of total sales for that brand. In January 1999, PhotoDisc's e-commerce

sales represented 40 percent of total sales.

Electronic commerce sales at PhotoDisc, as a percentage of total sales, grew

from 19 percent at the end of 1997 to 35 percent at the end of 1998. Getty

believes that it is possible for the company as a whole, over the medium term,

to reflect the margins achieved at PhotoDisc.

PhotoDisc's e-commerce sales for the full year increased by 156 percent, over

1997, to $20 million. In October 1998 alone, $2.3 million was generated on Getty launched a new PhotoDisc web site in February

1999 that contains greater functionality and improvements in customer service,

including the addition of account self-maintenance and monitoring abilities.

Getty's Preview service, which allows customers to use in house expertise in

searching for imagery while utilizing the company's online delivery of

selections and orders, continues to prove popular among Tony Stone Images'

customers. Getty believes that the service is effective at ensuring that

specialist image requests can be met digitally and that the service can help to

alleviate customer deadline pressure. In addition, Getty believes that the

service provides an excellent training ground for full e-commerce usage amongst

all customer sectors. Due to its success, the company has extended the service

to include its expansive historical collection, Hulton Getty.

Encouraged by the rapid growth in digital take-up and revenues on the company's

existing web sites, during the next twelve months Getty will invest in enhancing

functionality and valued added services. In addition, Getty will continue to

e-commerce enable relevant parts of the company's content in order to provide

imagery in a hassle-free web environment.

In the third quarter of 1999, Getty plans to enhance the separate successes of

existing web sites by providing the creative market with a hub web site, with

e-commerce capabilities, containing imagery from some of its leading brands:

Tony Stone Images, PhotoDisc, Allsport and Hulton Getty. Getty believes that

existing and new customers will be eager to take advantage of this broad

selection of high quality imagery.

Integration of appropriate initiatives and divisions among brands was a feature

for Getty in 1998 and the company intends to continue this strategy during the

coming twelve months. Liaison and Hulton Getty share offices and management in

North America; Tony Stone Images has extended its customer base to Liaison in

1998 and will provide the same benefit to Energy Film Library in 1999; PhotoDisc

built its foothold in Australia through maximizing the opportunities provided by

Getty's expansion there for Allsport.

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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