Jonathan Klein, Getty Images Co-Founder and CEO said, during a Goldman Sachs 2007 Communacopia Conference quite a few interesting things:
"the big difference between an image being used online and offline, is a requirement for quality for most online uses, the volumes are enormous, and a good enough picture does the trick." Yet, their website says "Getty Images creates and distributes the world's best and broadest imagery collections...". So, people don't need to come to you, they can get "good enough" elsewhere. Why bother shopping "the world's best", when you just need "good enough?"
One of the more interesting concessions, was when JDK said: "the way we see the world today quite simply, is that our core stock photography business has stopped growing, in fact, it's declining. Our number 1 priority is to stabilize that business...we're trying to stablize the core stock business, at the same time, trying continuing to grow the other businesses." So, your core business - the one that you brought to IPO, and skyrocketed to 93+, and is now down around 27 or so, is in fact, a not only stopped growing, but is declining?
About 34 minutes into the call, JDK said "we've made no secret of the fact that 75% or so of the business is down, umm, so, until we're able to stabilize that business, uh, we're not going to be ultra-growthy, ever the master of understatement. And having said that, we think that business can be stabilized, we think the new website does a lot, we think the $49 approach to the web market does an enormous amount, uh, we're seeing tremendous growth in some geography, we're underpenetrated in the publishing and corporate sector in most countries and overpenetrated in agencies...so, the market has said very clearly, we're not a growth company, and until we demonstrate some growth numbers, I expect the market will rule, and what I have said, which may be seen as negative, is that when you're dealing with specular, or systemic issues, uh, it's going to take some time."
One question was posed - "The stock pricing performance has been disappointing, obviously...how do you still think about stock buybacks, how do you think about whether you even need to be a public company given this transition you're going through?"
JDK: "Well, the way we think about stock buyback is, we had a board meeting today, and it was discussed. And, we are just like you, adjusting to the dramatic re-rating of Getty Images in the last six weeks. A re-rating which didn't come out of the blue..."
A question was posed, in response to JDK outlining long term debt and stock buyback activity, relative to positions of the debt market, where JDK went on, and then said "I've probably said more than I should have done...", was asked "so, no buyback short term?" to which JDK responded "I didn't say that, you just did." And, the call was then ended.
Sometimes, letting people's own words and mindset sink their own ship further is far better than any added commentary, so - 'nuff said.
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