Getty Images Boasts Web-License Works

Posted on 11/16/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Getty Images issued a statement Nov. 16 claiming "early success" of its recently introduced, controversial Web-use image license.

Nick Evans-Lombe, executive vice president of imagery, products and services, said that customer demand for the $49 product is very strong, despite its relatively short existence. Getty Images introduced the license in August and has been defending the move ever since.

Photographer organizations representing over 50,000 artists from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. mounted a public-relations campaign opposing the low-cost license. Led by the Stock Artists Alliance, the groups expressed concerns including loss of digital-licensing revenue, devaluation of rights-managed stock, general erosion of image prices, reduced photographer returns and reduced recovery values for infringing images.

Though Getty Images reacted to some of these concerns by adjusting the license, the SAA and supporting groups were still calling for the complete removal of rights-managed at rights-ready imagery from the new license at the end of September.

At the same time, a number of investment analysts expressed negative opinions on the license, seeing it as a price reduction and adjusting ratings for the already-under-performing GYI. The stock has remained on the downward trend since then.

Evans-Lombe said that the Web-use license is bringing in new customers, who are also licensing additional images across other collections and usage categories. Although he did not offer specifics, Evans-Lombe said the new customers number in the thousands.

In a recent conference call, Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein said that in the first month of offering the $49 Web product, the volume of its sales equaled Web-use sales of the entire fourth quarter of 2006. Though the earnings report discussed during the same conference call was far from stellar, Getty Images' stock is now showing signs of stabilizing.

There is also a change of tenor on the photographer-relations front. Friday's announcement discussed additional refinements to the licensing schema. Emerging from talks with the photographer community, these refinements address concerns of licensing duration, distribution and usage for the rights-ready and rights-managed products, said Getty director of photographer relations Paul Banwell.

Under the revised license, image use for rights-protected categories has been restricted to three months. In addition, size has been reduced to 180 pixels by 150 pixels for the two rights-ready and rights-managed images. Their distribution was also limited to one page on one Web site and a small-circulation single email. Royalty-free images remain at a larger size and can be used in perpetuity.

SAA executive director Betsy Reid characterized this outcome as resolving many of the concerns raised by the coalition. Reid added that the revised product "expands new licensing opportunities for a growing market for very small digital uses where this type of product makes sense."

Copyright © 2007 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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


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