Livingstone Resigns iStock, Getty Images

Posted on 3/24/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Though it has, apparently, been planned for some time, the resignation of the industry’s chief disruptor has come as a surprise to many. As of April 1, iStockphoto founder and chief executive and Getty Images senior vice president of consumer markets Bruce Livingstone departs the stock-image industry.

Livingstone founded iStock almost a decade ago as an image-trading Web site. Soon after, the site pioneered the credits system, giving birth to microstock as we now know it. iStock’s phenomenal commercial success resulted in a $50 million sale to Getty Images in 2006 but did not stop there: it remains the microstock flagship and Getty’s most valuable asset.

Its parent company offers an apt example of iStock’s disruptive effect on the traditional stock industry. While microstock has developed a loyal following among contributors and customers, it has also threatened or destroyed the business of many agencies, who could not compete with the newfound abundance of low-cost imagery. Even Getty Images, the traditional leader, has seen its creative-stock business decline substantially, and analysts including Goldman Sachs predict this decline will continue well into the next decade.

Consequently, the industry’s reactions to Livingstone’s departure are as divided as the industry itself. Blogging pro-photographer John Harrington, for example, wonders how Livingstone will “spend his ill-gotten gains, earned at the altar of ‘deep-and-cheap’ stock photography.” In contrast, contributor responses to Livingstone’s announcement on the iStock forum are overwhelmingly well-wishing, with some not overly original but downright messianic notes: “You gave us the wings to fly on our own.”

In his resignation announcement, Livingstone said he was going to spend time with his family and figure out what he was going to do next. Kelly Thompson, promoted to iStock chief operating officer last August, will take over the help of the microstock company.

Copyright © 2009 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


  • Carlos Zardoya Posted Mar 24, 2009
    While probably all in the industry recognizes his vision on the "2.0 stock photo market" as a future threat/opportunity (10 years ago), I think that only a few in the stock photo industry will miss you (except Getty management, of course). But, I'm sorry to say it, but for me, the "win-win" of vision, is Getty management, by buying your business 3 years ago, by only a quarter of what it should be valued today and a small percentage of what should value tomorrow ! Good luck, Bruce.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff