Thursday, September 20, 2007

GYI's JDK: "our core stock photography business has stopped growing, in fact, it's declining."

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?

(Continued after the Jump)


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.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

And this won't help GYI much:

"Jeff Kravitz, President and Founder of Filmmagic, bought by Getty Images in the $200 million Mediavast deal, has officially resigned. Citing impossible working conditions within the Mega image distributor, antiquated distribution system, one of the most succesful, and influential, red carpet photographer is slamming the door in the face of the Getty management."

http://blog.melchersystem.com/2007/09/20/a-cracked-egg/

Anonymous said...

In addition to Kravitz leaving, the 2 top Getty entertainment staff photographers in New York, Evan Agostini and Peter Kramer resigned this week and will start working with the AP.

Anonymous said...

There is no bad news here.......

If we're lucky we'll be able to see Jonathan Klein joining the ranks of the paparazzi and working the red carpet.

Anonymous said...

since when is Peter Kramer one of the "2 top Getty entertainment staff photographers in New York"?

Anonymous said...

who is Jonathan Klein?

Anonymous said...

What will be interesting is seeing how many Getty signed shooters who will stop or slow the contributions to the "Photographers Choice" program.

With a commission structure that is not the most profitable when the price of images are lowered to the $49.00 level plus the submission fee, it looks like this is not a an ideal time to add to the collection.

I have several hundred images with Getty. From the original (Image Bank, Tony Stone, Taxi) collection to current submissions. I have continued to submit images via "Photographers Choice" and plan to be very selective on future submissions.

Something is clearly amiss and I believe Getty management is worried. Earlier in the week, I received an email blast from Getty outlining everything positive about the new $49.00 pricing structure for web usage.

The email seemed heavy-handed and a bit of an overkill. Like they trying to sell this approach. It is the first time I read a communication from Getty that made me cautious and question why it was written.

I plan to continue to submit to my other agencies more often and to the new PhotoShelter collection.

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