National Geographic Image Collection Closes

Posted on 11/16/2020 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The National Geographic Image Collection, owned by The Walt Disney Company, is scheduled to close effective December 22, 2020. National Geographic was sold to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox for $725 million in 2015. In March 2019 Fox was sold to Disney and Murdoch and his family became the second largest shareholders.

David Miller, EVP & GM, National Geographic Media Group recently told contributors, “Moving forward, we will focus on deepening the integration of our photographers and their work across The Walt Disney Company, exploring new ways to connect audiences with our renowned Image Collection through editorial, social, publishing, live events and experiences, consumer products and more.”

“As a result of this change of strategy, we will only license your photography for use by National Geographic, the Walt Disney Company, associated partners, and associated licensees. The change will enable you to pursue other representation for third-party sales while also providing new revenue opportunities through your relationship with National Geographic.”

Thus, if photographers want to try to continue to license their work as stock they will need to go out and find someone else to represent the images.

It appears that Disney will only license uses by its internal company and associated organizations and when such uses occur they will pay fees to the image creators. They have promised to pay “market rates discounted no more than 25%.” It is unclear how they will determine what is a market rate in today’s stock photo environment when Getty is selling some images for pennies.

If the images were originally shot on film, which represent a huge percentage of the Geographic collection, it appears that the photographers will be unable to get their film back. The select images that were used in the magazine have for the most part been digitized. It is believe that Nat Geo is willing to return copies of those digital files to the creators. It is assumed that the images that were shot in the last 20 years were almost all digital and that the photographer retained a digital copy of all the images submitted to National Geographic.

It is unclear how much revenue the Nat Geo collection has been generating, but it appears to have been declining significantly over the last few years. One of the big distributors of the Nat Geo work has been Getty Images, but photographers believe those sales have declined to about 10% of total Nat Geo sales in the last few years.

It is believed that in addition to Getty, Nat Geo had arrangement with a number of other distributors around the world to represent portions of their collection. It is unclear what will happen with those arrangement, but we assume that photographer will need to sign new agreements with those distributors.

In 2012 The Granger Collection represented more than 600,000 Vintage images from the Nat. Geo. Collection of more than 11.5 million images. It is unclear if Granger is still representing those images.

Copyright © 2020 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


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