Getty Statistics

Posted on 8/6/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Recently, in testimony on the importance of copyright before the House Intellectual Property Subcommittee John Lapham, Senior Vice President, General Counsel of Getty Images, provided some useful statistics about Getty’s operation.

The company has:
  • 71 million images online,  
  • 70 million in archive,
  • uploads 40,000 new pictures daily,
  • 1.3 million creative and editorial video clips,
  • 2,000 employees,
  • represents more than 150,000 content creators,
  • sources content from more than 180 countries,
  • is the distributor for more than 300 brands,
  • has more than 1,000,000 customers,
  • provides coverage of more than 75,000 sports events annually,
  • licenses more than 100,000 music tracks from 10,000 independent musicians,
  • has offices in 18 countries,
  • is part of a $7.5 to $8 billion market for visual content.
Of the 71 million images online only 6,903,486 of them can be found in the Creative section of About half the images in the Creative section are supplied by approximately 160 image partner brands. The rest are supplied directly to Getty by individual image creators.

I believe iStockphoto’s collection makes up about 15 million and 10 million of the 71 million. and also have images unique only to them, but many of the images on these sites are also available on Getty’s other sites.

The remainder of the 71 million images can probably be found in Getty’s Editorial collection. In addition to the images produced by Getty’s staff photographers the Editorial collection has images from over 140 images partner collections.

Of the 2,000 employees 450 are technology workers and 500 are sales employees.

Sales Trends

One important thing to consider is sales trends. At the end of 2007 Goldman Sacks examined Getty’s books and projected Getty’s 2012 sales at $1,187 million up from $858 million in 2007. In March of 2012 Standard & Poors reported that Getty’s 2011 revenue was only $945 million. During those 4 years Getty saw significant growth in revenue from its Editorial and iStockphoto collections. Combined these two business segments represented about 24% of Getty’s total revenue in 2007. The Creative Stills segment of their business in 2007 was $561 million, but by 2012 this segment of the business dropped to around $200 million. (See analysis)

Recently, I was able to examine the 2008 and 2012 sales reports from some Getty photographers whose combined gross sales were well in excess of one million dollars. The vast majority of the images were licensed as RF.

Looking back at Getty’s last publicly reported 2007 sales numbers  prior to the Hellman & Friedman purchase of Getty the average gross sale price for an RF image was about $240. In 2008 the average per-image-licensed for the collections I was able to examine was $219. By 2012 the average for these same collections (with new images added) had dropped to $126 per-image-licensed. This might not have been so bad if the number of images licensed had increased, but the number of images licensed in 2012 was less than half the number licensed in 2008.

The images in our sample were produced by what I believe are some of Getty’s top producers. While some image creators may have had better results I suspect the results for many were worse than these numbers indicate. In most months more than 30% of the sales were for gross fees of $25 or less. The photographer’s share was about 20% of that.

Back in 2008 CEO Jonathan Klein gave three reasons for why average prices were down. Basically they were:
    1 – A decline in the use of higher priced images relative to those that were priced lower,
    2 – More editorial uses relative to commercial,
    3 – An incremental increase in the volume of web uses at lower prices.

Market Size

The “$7.5 to $8 billion market for visual content” may be the size of the entire market for photography – including all assignment work, weddings, family portraits, etc – but it is certainly not the size of the market for stock photography. The recent survey by the Global Stock Image Market Research Group gives a much more realistic picture. Based on their numbers, I estimate the annual revenue generated for still images and illustration combined at between $1.35 and $1.5 billion and for footage at about $400 million.

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, 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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