Getty Images’ Fourth Quarter Earinings Conference Call Update
[I am CEO of Zooomr Inc., we are building a stock photography business in the social media space]
“I was famously quoted in Wired magazine on the subject of cannibalization and I have not changed my view since then: do not get in the way of the market. Do not get in the way of customers. Don’t artificially make it harder for them.
With royalty-free when it first came on board, a number of people said to us, do you really need to keep the pictures to be of lower quality, and you need — don’t put it into foreign countries and don’t put it into your international operations because that will protect rights-managed longer. That was wrong-headed, and I think that if we were to artificially slow down the promotion of iStockphoto, that would also be wrong-headed.”
— Jonathan Klein on yesterday’s Getty Earnings Conference Call showing that he gets it.
Jonathan Klein, Getty Images’ CEO, Alan Pickerill, Getty Images’ Director of Investor Relations and Thomas W. Oberdorf, Getty Images’ CFO briefed Wall Street Analysts on Getty’s most recent quarter yesterday and for the most part the street liked what they heard.
Getty Images stock is up approx $3.83 this morning, which represents about an 8 percent increase in share price over yesterday’s close. The reason for the jump is most likely earnings related. Wall Street had expected earnings of $.57 per share for the most recent quarter and Getty returned $.66 before some items.
The earnings results were driven in part by some currency adjustments and also by stronger than expected success in their editorial images for sale.
Last year when Kristopher Tate and I visited with Getty I was particularly impressed with the scope of their editorial photos. Sports, news, and especially celebrities are hot in the stock photography world. Most recently Getty had done the Brad Pitt – Angelina Jolie baby shoot, which was one of the most lucrative shoots of all time (in that case all proceeds went to charity).
One of the more interesting things Getty has done, of course, was purchasing iStockphoto just about a year ago. Where some might see iStockphoto as a threat to cannibalize their business, Getty viewed iStockphoto as an opportunity to purchase the market leader in microstock sales.
Klein indicated that he was happy with iStockphoto’s recent performance stating that in the most recent quarter that 3 million images were downloaded vs. 2.5 million in the previous quarter, and more significantly stating that iStockphoto has doubled the number of new members added to the site each month. According to Klein, iStockphoto now has 1.2 million members. They also recently localized the site into French, German and Spanish.
The stock photography space will continue to be an interesting place in the next year. In addition to microstock sites like iStockphoto, or Jupitermedia’s StockXpert.com, companies like ours (Zooomr) are looking at ways to deliver some of the most amazing images in the world to marketers around the world. Social media stands to open up a whole new world of amazing fresh images to buyers around the globe. Flickr (YHOO) also recently indicated that they would be exploring ways to offer photography sales in recent comments made by Flickr Chief Stewart Butterfield on CNN.