Getty Does Not Get The Value Out Of What Their Pictures Do For Their Customers

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The model: “Here’s a picture, give me $100 and you can use it” will still continue and will still continue to be a big part of the industry. But in three to five years – no way. In three or five years, we’ll be saying: “Here’s our imagery. If you generate revenues on it, around it, relating to it, we want a piece of it.” It’s a bit like the YouTube Content ID model. And we’ve got the technology, and are building that. We, today, do not get the value out of what our pictures do for our customers.

via Getty Images’ Jonathan Klein: “We need new economic models” – British Journal of Photography.

There Are 8 Comments On This Article.

  1. The Richard Reinsdorf v. Sketchers case showed how hard proving profit “on it, around it, relating to it” can be. But maybe Getty will be able to lead the way in creating models and standard practices that do work. Platform by platform seems like a pretty hard way to go, though, since they come and go so much. One model imposed on all platforms, old, new or in startup phase, would be better.

  2. This is an interesting and financially appealing idea for content providers.

    The immediate thought is that advertising clients currently mask their budget and typically refuse to disclose the media buy. Why would they voluntarily divvy up residuals on important secured information such as revenue? Exactly how would a photographer prove their client profited more than the percentage they paid out?

    Magazines currently budget something like 0.005% of expected profit for a major cover. They won’t like the idea of paying something substantial, such as 5% of revenue (let’s guess around $200,000 for a four million dollar issue).

    Hollywood has strikes on a regular basis over this system of payment. Does that mean we would get some form of a content providers union and only Union card holders could create for profit?

    Another interesting thought is how content will change, maybe even improve, and how the market will grow because everyone with a Canon camera will be fighting to make five times the average American’s yearly salary on one national magazine cover. The law of Supply and Demand obliterates this theoretical business model of the future.

    The only thing we can say for sure is that business is changing around the world at an unprecedented pace.

  3. Whatever additional revenue Getty manages to pull from customers, Klein & Co. will continue to share a small percentage with those who created the images while keeping the lion’s share for Getty. They have played a large role in taking the industry to its present state. May they soon collapse under the weight of their own arrogance and greed.

  4. Shamu the Whale

    Covered an event a few months ago and was surprised to see a Getty photographer there aswell. Bearing in mind that the event had minority sports interest, so unlikely to appeal to either the national newspapers or even many local newspapers, I started to work out the costs to Getty of having that photographer there. I quickly realised that if each national newspaper on their subscription used an image Getty were still way short of justifying the cost of the photographer let alone other staff involved and would have difficulty making a profit.

    So what was the purpose Mr Klein ? Couldn’t be to push out other photographers who can’t afford to shoot loss leaders as your current subscription model does.

    The only joy in reading of Mr Klein’s concerns is that Getty’s policy seems to have come back and bit them.

    Suggestion to the Getty board concerned about the returns for the images they license – charge viable rates. Real markets will find the money and you may realise that the reason photographers changed higher rates than you could was because those other photographers realised the value of their work to each type of client.

    Other markets will have to improve their business model to stop seeing photographers as charities.

  5. Shamu the Whale

    Also how much does Klein think it will cost Getty to have staff negotiating these additional fees or does he think that will be another cost that the rest of us can’t afford.

    Klein seems to be complaining about a situation that his company has had a large part in creating and now wants to change the business model to one that will undoubtedly disadvantage others in the profession.

    If anybody reading this is a client of Getty I suggest now would be a good time to consider Plan B should the rest of us be pushed out of business so only the large agencies exist. Methinks the juicy deals you all enjoy will disappear overnight.

    Getty has some very talented photographers but a fair amount of its portfolio can be shot by most professionals with the same access. As a company it’s only policy really seems to be to grow so large that it can push everybody else out not because all its photographers are so much better than the rest of us but by undercutting us via its fees policy.

    Reminds me of a cuckoo.