Friday, September 14, 2007

Getty's $49 Prices Will Hurt Entire Industry

"Getty is unnecessarily giving up money from commercial and high-end advertising customers willing to pay premium prices for the most exclusive imagery..."

It's truly sad that yet again, the faceless suits are managing artists out of anything resembling a living while getting fat on the profits of those artistic works ...

Daryl Lang writes here about the fact that Lines are being drawn in the online pricing battle of 2007.

On one side: Getty Images, which just introduced a pricing plan that makes almost any Getty photograph available for almost any online use for the flat price of $49, drastically less than Getty's competitors.

On the other side: Trade associations representing photographers, who say Getty's severe price cuts not only mean lower royalties for Getty contributors, but will have a ripple effect on the entire industry.

It's not the first time Getty has faced opposition over a new licensing model, and Getty has a history of winning these battles (the classic example being the company's introduction of royalty-free stock). Getty is betting that its contributors won't jump ship over the price cuts, and that customers will license larger volumes of images at low prices.

On Monday, the Stock Artists Alliance sent a letter to Getty CEO Jonathan Klein asking that rights-managed images be excluded from the new $49 pricing scheme. The letter was endorsed by five other organizations, including the American Society of Media Photographers, the U.K. Association of Photographers, Advertising Photographers of America, Editorial Photographers, and the Canadian Association of Photographers.


MollyB said...

Don't hit me, but the lower price could increase overall demand, thus expanding the market base. Which in turn could open up opportunities for those who are able to target exclusive segments of the expanded market.

Protectionism might feel good now, but there's a strong chance it could be counter-productive in the long term.

Di Mackey said...

I wouldn't hit you :) and perhaps you are right but I do get tired of the ongoing history of the 'managers' creating a wealth that doesn't take into account those who create the product they sell, making themselves wealthy in the process. It a historical complaint surely.

But advertisers must be clapping their hands in delight, having access to a cheap product that they charge their clients a small fortune for when creating their version of art based around someone else's $49 image.

Fortunately, many photographers are probably in it for the passion. On my bad days I dream about the fact I could have settled for a steady safe life in an office back home in NZ but mostly I view my method of payment for my images in 2 ways - there are those I am paid for and those where I am paid by the experiences I had along the way.

The second means I have less in terms of financial reward but it definately has its own reward.

It did occur to me that if you tally up the hours and creativity, post-production work, travel costs and equipment wear that goes into a $49 image ...who has the time or resources to satisfy that expanded market?

Just a thought.

Pam said...

Di, sadly, writers have been eating this state of affairs for a while now. "Write for free!" "Give us your stuff for a tenner!" "We'll trade you content for, um, yeah, EXPOSURE."


I've given this a lot of thought. While I do, from time to time,give things away because I'm not paying attention (oops, that won't happen again) or I think it's a good move for me publicity wise, in general, I try not to be dragged down by this shift from the professional to any regular joe selling their work.

See, you get what you pay for. No, really. Some quality work can be had for very little, sure, but in general, if you don't value your work, it's not worth very much, you know? You can either give in and start cheapening your own work or stick to your guns, sell a little less and produce really high quality stuff, when you have the opportunity, for a fair-ish price.

That's my story, I'm sticking to it. As hard as it is.

And yes, none of us went in for the money. Honestly, the more stories I sell, the happier I am I have a "day job." There's no WAY I could do this full time, I'd STARVE.

Alexpr said...

Interestingly, maybe, I read an article in an Italian photographic magazine which profiled a top sports/event photog - Bruno Tamiozzo. This guy said that he gets between 7 and 15 Euros per photo from his agency. So 49 buck per image does not seem all that bad, and, I think Getty has been losing business to the micro-stock sites that have pricing levels way below $49 a photo.

You could blame the Internet for this cut, but at least more people will get to see your images and I imagine that many photogs sell many more images now than before the advent of the Internet.

And then there is the demand for images, which, as a result of the use of the www for advertising, must have increased, I imagine.

Alas, where there is money to be made, you will find suits. C'est la vie!

As for Getty's decision, I would wait a while. Margin may be down, but this could be offset by volume. Time, as ever, will tell.