Getty Simplifying RM Exclusivity

Posted on 3/13/2019 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Will Getty’s move to simplifying RM Exclusivity be good for Image Creators? The following are several things RM contributors should think about. In particular, contributors who have co-exclusive agreements with Getty should question this new deal.

1Are there be enough high value sales of a contributor’s entire collection through Getty to offset the loss of other sales of that collection?

Market Freeze only works if suppliers give Getty worldwide exclusive rights to certain images and agree to no longer make any direct sales of the images. Will such an agreement actually benefit the image creator in the long run?



Getty wants these Market Freeze sales to be automatic. There will be no possibility of checking with the image creator to see if the image has been licensed by the creator for another use, or to restrict the creator from future direct licensing.

When a Market Freeze is licensed the image is taken out of circulation for the period of the license. No other customer will be able to see or license the image during that period.



If such licenses are automatic, it will probably be very difficult, if not impossible, for a customer to get any information about the previous sales history of the image. It may not be easy for the customer who licenses a Market Freeze to discover the names of  customers who licensed the image previously and may still have the legal right to continue using the image.

2What percentage of current units licensed are for some type of exclusive?

Based on the analysis I’ve done of sales in the last two years of some of Getty’s major contributors only about 3/10s or 1% of the sales are for prices over $1,000. That means that if a creator’s collection generates 1,000 total sales a year once the images are only available at Market Freeze prices the creator can expect to make about 3 sales a year. The sales will be for much higher prices, but will that be enough to offset the other lost revenue?



Getty says, “Creative content where we are unable to offer Market Freeze will continue to be available, but only to customers with Premium Access agreements.”

I think this means co-exclusive RM images will be the only RM images available for licensing to Premium Access customers. However, it is unclear whether Market Freeze images will also be available to PA customers at the low per-image prices these customers currently pay. The problem with this is that virtually all of Getty’s customers currently have Premium Access agreements.

Currently about 74% of the uses Getty licenses are for gross fees below $20. These are certainly all to Premium Access customers. Some Premium Access customers may be paying higher fees occasionally. Probably only about 5% to 6% of all Getty licenses are for gross fees above $100. (The royalty is a cut of that number.)

3How many of Getty’s existing customers need exclusive rights to any of the images they use?

This is an important question since Getty has seen a slowdown in sales to Ad Agencies who one would expect would be the customers most likely to need exclusive or restricted rights.

Getty has about $2.3 billion of existing debt due to expire in 2019 and 2020. New bonds are being issued to restructure this debt. According to the bond rating company Moody’s, only 21% of current revenue comes from the Ad Agency space. Moody’s also says (and I presume this information was supplied by Getty) “Getty has deliberately reduced exposure to the ad agency space given the continued revenue slowdown in that vertical.”

One would think that while Ad Agencies are probably the customers who find the greatest need for exclusive rights such rights control is only necessary for a very small percentage of the images they license.

4What are Market Freeze prices likely to be?

We don’t know, but they are likely to be competitive with the prices Stocksy currently charges for a Market Freeze.

6 months    $1,250
1 year        $2,500
2 years       $4,500
3 years       $6,000
4 years       $7,500

The terms of the Stocksy agreement are: “This extended license secures exclusivity for a set period of time from the date of the asset purchase and includes complementary Multi-seat, Unlimited Print and Products for Resale Licenses. A Market Freeze is only available as an add-on to the X-large basic license and is nonrefundable.”

Getty has indicated that they will offer Market Freeze prices, not just for Advertising and Print, but for all digital uses as well. It seems highly unlikely that many digital only users would be willing to pay the kind Market Freeze prices Stocky is charging. Thus, we may see some much lower prices for certain types of Market Freeze when Getty launches its program.

5Will Exclusive RF also be available for Market Freeze?

Getty already has exclusive rights to a lot of its RF images. They also sell images from the iStock Exclusive collection through gettyimages.com. In theory, all these images would also be available for Market Freeze licensing.

If Getty creates a Market Freeze collection that includes both RM and RF the RF offering  could easily overwhelm the RM part of the offering. Currently only 21% of the images in the Getty Creative collection are RM and many of them will not qualify for Market Freeze because they are co-exclusive.

Currently there are 10,233,933 people and nature images in the iStock Signature (exclusive) collection and only 3,812,176 people and nature images in Getty’s Creative collection. Not all the Getty images will qualify for Market Freeze.

6Will Getty edit the collection?

Currently a lot of the RM images in the Getty collection are similars. For the most part Getty has given up editing and accepts everything submitted. One of the reasons the Stocksy collection is successful at selling Market Freezes (and we have no idea what percentage of their revenue comes from such licenses) is that their offering is a tightly edited collection making it easy for customers willing to pay high fees for the images they use to quickly find what they need.


Copyright © 2019 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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