Getty Images’ Fourth Quarter Earinings Conference Call Update

Getty Images CEO, Jonathan KleinGetty Images CEO, Jonathan Klein Hosted on Zooomr

[I am CEO of Zooomr Inc., we are building a stock photography business in the social media space]

Getty Images Q4 2006 Earnings Call Transcript – SeekingAlpha:

“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.

Bruce LivingstoneiStockphoto CEO, Bruce Livingstone Hosted on Zooomr

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.

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2 Comments

  1. TranceMist says:

    Can you give us a sense of how much money one can make (i.e. per picture) as an individual photographer who makes their pictures available in Zoomr or iStockphoto?

    Have you been successful in selling any of yours?

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    Trancemist,

    iStockphoto mostly sells images for $1, $3 and $5. They do have some larger size images that they sell for more. They typically give the photographer 20% but a photographer can get a higher payout by offering photographs exclusively to iStockphoto.

    At Zooomr we are hoping that the quality and price point of our work will be significantly higher. We think that the very best advanced amateurs can command prices much higher than microstock. Utlimately, of course, the market will determine this.

    We have not finalized our pricing mechanism yet but another key thought for us is that the photographer him/herself ought to have some degree of control over what their work is sold for.

    It will likely be something that’s not quite traditional stock though and not microstock. Something more in between.

    I’ve sold a lot of my own work. I’ve been paid upwards of $500 for individual photos. Normally my stuff has sold for $200 – $300 per image, but it’s all happened accidentally, haphazardly, with people finding my work on Google Image Search, or Flickr, or Zooomr.

    By creating an actual platform on Zooomr, a Marketplace, this can happen much more efficiently. The best photographs in the world have yet to be taken. Photo buyers want fresh, cutting edge, images from the top amateurs out there. We are hoping to make this available through a social network helping struggling photographers everywhere who want to break into this market do it.