Getty not getting it —
Getty Images goes down the volume route selling more for less

Perhaps fiscal panic has them running like Lab mice and we are about to see a kodak. Jonathan Klein who co foundered in 1995 Getty images with Mark Getty of oil family fame stepped aside this recently, and the new Ceo Dawn Airey announced a change in strategy. She wants to mine the world’s largest photo library 200 million images as an advertising and big data opportunity to add to revenues.

 200,000,000 Getty images now available to embed for no cost

200,000,000 Getty images now available to embed for no cost

I can’t help thinking Carlyle who paid $3.3bn for Getty in 2012 and who have loaded it with debt to the value of 2/3rds of their purchase price must be breathing down Dawn’s pretty neck to work wonders having probably paid to much for an ageing technology asset which is already quietly being eclipsed. We as strategists and designers who buy licensed assets from Getty find it a useful site but we now have access to many across the globe in the relentless search for that unique image.

 New Getty CEO Dawn Airey

New Getty CEO Dawn Airey

Certainly Dawn’s ideas of layering in advertising and giving images away free is a little scary to the professional users like us. Open slather image sharing would be dodgy for us in a search for something special to say for our client’s campaign which does’nt suddenly turn up as School’s sporting poster.Like most Publishing houses when owned by large indebted investors things invariably get dumbed down as opposed to improving the product which may take further investment.

Dawn’s ideas of layering in advertising and giving images away free is a little scary to the professional users like us

She quoted “the world’s language is no longer English or Chinese its pictorial” and from her statements I’m concerned its more volume than value which spins her wheels. When you see an image site which is beautifully curated and grouped by a cool eye you relish in the selection of images you have to play with in telling your story. Getty have failed to keep up in this space and search times on average would be longer on their site than many others with greater discernment.

Contributors and Photographers like to see their work well titled and curated and again here Getty dissapoint some I know in this space, who do better in smaller more specialised sites or even running their own. Search engines are such now that even the smallest can be noticed online with the right captive image. Content Queen she may have been in a past life but I’d be focussing on charging more for less and becoming greater storytellers rather than image brokers.

"I’d be focussing on charging more for less and becoming greater storytellers rather than image brokers" 

The game has changed for good and the world’s readers and viewers have become visually ravenous in their desire to see and experience more. What a brilliant concept in 1995 which helped us all to bring a world to our door in visualising ideas for others. But now we want more from these businesses as designers and storytellers.