Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's The Witching Hour - Are You Ready?

Man, you can't make stuff like this up! Checking the witching hour at Wikipedia, and you learn "the witching hour is the time when supernatural creatures such as witches, demons and ghosts are thought to be at their most powerful, and black magic at its most effective. " And, lo and behold, the double whammy that is Halloween, followed by the fact that we are at the point where, perhaps, Getty's CEO is wishing for some black magic to come to his rescue, since they announce their 3Q financial results tomorrow, 11/1 - a Thursday, after the bell, just in time for them to get sacked all day Friday - a surefire way for JDK to have a really crappy (and well deserved) weekend. To take a page from storybook television..."When we last checked in with our intrepid executives at GYI (GYI - The Downward Full Court Press Continues) things weren't going so well. And, well, that continues. At that point, GYI was trading at the loftly (relative to now) figure of $31.40, and, Wednesday's close was at $28.93, down a net 8%. If it hadn't been for a late day rally, it would have been significantly more than that. Setting themselves up for a fall again, hmmmm?

(Continued after the Jump)

Let's see, When I wrote back on August 4th (I told you so? No, not really. (Well, maybe, sort of)), and then again prior to that on 7/8 (About the only good 'Short'-sighted Idea I can find) about their continued downfall, that brings us up to....yes, today (again). For those of you wanting to know what I might have written about GYI in the past, here's a quicklink search for you. Plenty to read and catch up on as it pertains to all their missteps, so you're well informed for their earnings call. Feel free to dial in and hear the spin on their latest "net revenues are less than expected" spin that I expect out of Seattle - the toll-free call (1-800-432-7890) gets it to you live at 5pm East, 2pm West. Missed it? Call for a replay through Saturday night at 1-888-203-1112. Wanna listen live? Hit http://gettyimages.com. All the details can be found here on the Getty site.

How do I draw the conclusion that "net revenues will be down"? Well, I further expect to hear "...but volume is up...", which sounds remarkably like "we'll loose a little on each sale, but make it up in volume..." to me. Well, when your average sale for online content was around $500, and now it's $49, that's gonna have to be one helluva lot of volume to overcome that slash-and-burn mentality. Or is it "churn and burn?"

Exhibit 1 - The Washington Post reports that "CNet Sells Webshots for $45 Million". Not bad? Actually, it's horrible for CNET, and amazing for Webshot's founder Narendra Rocherolle. How so? Well, let's just say he took the dot-com frenzy to the mountaintop - TWICE - and kicked ass and took names both times. See, he sold Webshots to ExciteatHome for $82M and then, when ExciteAHome went bankrupt, he bought it back for $2.4M (a $83M nifty profit), and then re-sold it to CNET for $70M. Hmmm, that's $153M in the plus-column, after a deuce of a sale. Nice job Narendra. Though, CNET is following ExciteAtHome's lead, selling the Webshots unit for a loss of $25M after three years. Not that I know much about Narendra, but maybe he should be on the short list for JDK's job once there's an opening? At least he would be a wall street darling.

Where does this leave us? My colleague in the blogosphere Dan Heller has posted just three posts following his calling me out on August 6th for my "analysis" of Getty. One on August 8th promoting his appearance on the Discovery Channel, and a teaser and then announcement of his being interviewed about the future of photography on August 30th. That makes it just over two months since Dan's had anything to say. Eerily silent. To make my prediction of another 20% drop in GYI, the stock will have to plummet almost $6 in the next few days. Can it make it by the end of Friday/Start of Monday? Could be. There's chatter over on the Yahoo message boards, about all this, but that's probably positioners trying to make a quick buck, maybe not. I know, and will repeat my previous statement that I have not, nor do I plan to, own any GYI. My 9/18 piece (Getty (GYI) Hit New 52 Week low) had a reference to "...Barbara Coffey, in a client note, cut her rating on the stock to "Sell" from "Hold," citing the company's recently reduced prices for images to be used on the Web. She reduced her target price to $24 from $36...Still, the analyst said sales and profit in the December quarter and 2008 will come in lower than previously expected."

So, perhaps sub-$24 isn't so far off? We shall see. Maybe I'll be all wrong on this one - fine by me. If that brings Dan Heller back, I'm ok with that, because I thought he made some good posts and contributions to the mindset that is business-reality for photographers.

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.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe Dan Heller is out taking pictures, or busy selling them.

John Harrington said...

One can only hope! I'm out all day too making photos...check the next piece for details.

Derek said...

true story - I was reading this thinking, "Dan Heller... Dan Heller.. I've heard that name before..." when I clicked through I remembered I'd been combing through my subscriptions in Google Reader not 20mins prior (time to cut back somewhere) and saw his blog and though, man he's been quiet.

信次 said...

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Anonymous said...

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