Getty Images is to phase out its rights Ready scheme. according to an announcement to its contributors, Getty Images wrote :
“Through constant communication with our customers over the past two years, weve learned that in addition to the need for simpler, faster licensing, customers also want to maintain their ability to very precisely fine-tune their licensing.
Therefore, we have decided to evolve our rights-managed creative stills pricing to include improved flexible license packs, incorporating our learnings from the rights-ready model. Once the improved license packs are in place for rights-managed, we will phase out the rights-ready model for creative stills collections.”
Apparently, Getty’s attempt to make RM as flexible and easy as RF has failed. Probably due to a lack of flexibility of the Rights Ready model and repeated frustration from clients confronted to a licensing agreement that did not apply to their needs. So they are back to the drawing board, apparently taking som cues from the PLUS coalition Flex Packs. Does that mean Getty is going to raise its pricing ? doubtful. Rather, it seems, they are going to give their Account Executives more freedom to hand out more market specific licenses. In such a harshly competitive market, Getty apparently does not feel powerful enough to yet raise their fees although they now control much of the US market and have decimated their close and not so close competition. However, like any other, it still has to deal with Microstock as well a a shrinking print editorial market and an immature online market.
No one else in the industry had followed Getty in the Rights Ready model, either for fear of lawsuits or simply because they didn’t believe in it. Either way it is now, at least for a while, going to be history.The idea of facilitating licensing of RM was not a bad one, but it failed to address clearly the main reason why people need RM : exclusivity. Unfortunately, since Getty is no longer public, it will be close to impossible to know how this change will affect their bottom line.