Getty images is not a newcomer in trading prices versus quantity. Quite the opposite. When a company wants to gain market share in an industry already heavily populated with suppliers, it reduces its cost of doing business to a minimum and slashes prices to force the competition into bankruptcy. Economy of scale, it is called.
They did, and are doing it with editorial where their “all you can use” subscription plan has been highly successful. For about $1,000 a month you can use any and all the images they have on the wire. No questions asked. Selling those subscription in large quantities worldwide has shown to be quite profitable for them, while giving the old mom and pop editorial agencies an almost impossible challenge.
Getty was also in the forefront of the microstock revolution by plunging head first and much deeper than Jupiter Images did. Bargain photography is certainly what Getty knows best.
Now, it is all about midstock. While Alan Meckler says “Midstock sounds exciting but it might already be dead.” , Getty responds by putting as much fire power in it as it can. First in Valueline hosted by the sad looking punchstock website ( the last press release posted dates from 2006) and now with the infamous $49.00 web usage pricing.
Someone is wrong here and we will soon find out who. Surely, Getty did not go along with this pricing without extended reflexion and analysis. It is my experience and my belief that most images on the web are going at about that price already. Yes, a corporate usage for a year on a home page could be priced at $1,000 or more but then, who really purchased such a license. Furthermore, Getty acknowledges that Istock and all other microstocks main market is web usage and thus makes these type of high level pricing forever impossible to achieve.
Getty is now trying to canabilize the microstock market and regain market share with its midstock approach . It is competing directly with all the microstock agencies by offering a similar license for a slightly more expensive pricing in the hope that the quality and the quantity of the offering will attract budget conscious image buyers.
In a way, Getty is the first and only agency firing back at the microstock invasion. While photographers have a right to complain, they should do so by pulling out there images instead of posting endless comments. I do not see this happening. And up to know, I haven’t seen any traditional photo agency taking dramatic measure to attract the new breed of customers that the microstock industry has brought in.
Getty is not the guardian of the photography world, nor does it has ever claimed to be the defender of photographers rights to a fair income. Jonathan Klein famously said years ago at a PACA meeting in New York, “Photo Editors pay my bills, not photographers”, or ssomething close to that. He hasn’t change course.