I found myself taking full advantage of my high speed data lines in my new Macbook Pro enroute an assignment in Philadelphia last night and was peddle-to-the-metal (well, atleast, cruise control set to 65) and listening to the Getty Images (GYI) earnings call on the laptop via their webcast. Sadly, right when I thought they'd get to the good stuff- you know, where we stop hearing all the back-slapping and huff-puffing and the real green-eye-shaders got to ask their pointed questions, when, all of a sudden - my screen shuddered, dimmed, and died. I caught just the first question, asked by J.P. Morgan about the upcoming sale, and JDK demurs "The very first question is one that I am not at liberty to answer. I would stress that at no point has Getty Images talked about a sale. We have talked about strategic alternatives." Right. Let me know when the rest of the Brooklyn Bridge is for sale!
So, I calmly waited for a few down moments later last night to read what my colleague Daryl Lang over at PDN had digested, and low-and-behold, somehow, Daryl had live-blogged the call! No new announcements, of course, as if we expected a major announcement when they're readying themselves for
a sale strategic alternatives.
In a slightly unusual twist, JDK keeps talking up all things "sequential", as if that's going to cover up their failings.
A bit of a reminder, from the good folks in the UK - Money Terms, regarding "Sequential growth":
The advantage of looking at sequential comparisons is that it can help in spotting recent changes in trends. The disadvantages are is that it is easy to mistake mere fluctuations for trends, and that the need to adjust for seasonal variations.In other words - the recent changes in trends is that we now have more RF and a silly $49 "revolutionary" new product, and the fluctuations will continue downwards.
Seems that others saw the writing on the wall...
RTT News reports "...Getty Images Inc. (GYI) reported a decline in its fourth quarter profit on higher tax expenses...." what's that you say? You have to pay taxes? Yes Jonathan, you're not in England anymore.
Conde Nast Portfolio's AP story lead with "Getty Images Inc. said Thursday its fourth-quarter earnings declined almost 8 percent as rising operating expenses and income tax costs overshadowed a jump in revenue."
Those operating expenses to store all those $1 images sure do mount up, don't they?
Reuters reported "...Shares of Getty are down almost 50 percent over the last year due to disappointing earnings results and a slowdown at its core rights-managed pictures business..." which is what happens with you're converting RM clients to RF and iStockphoto clients - you diminish the higher dollar sales, and moreover, teach people how to devalue photography in general.
The blood-letting was less severe than it could have been had it not been for the weak dollar, according to a Seattle Times article - "Sales rose 7.1 percent to $218.1 million, beating the $210.2 million average of 11 analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg News after a weaker dollar increased the value of the revenue Getty got from international customers."
Even my good friend and long-time colleague David Burnett is poking fun at Getty! Goetze cites Burnett's blog, where he JOKINGLY says "Another Big Purchase? Why Not!" that Contact will purchase GYI, but Burnett goes on to make many thoughtful points about what is wrong with Getty's mentality.
With the mystery out of the way, how low will it go today, Friday? One can only hope low enough that someone gets the balls to tell the emperor he's got no clothes, and to move on to wrecking the next industry he stumbles upon.
Andy Goetze, over at StockPhotoTalk has a great breakdown of all that is GYI, and cites Klein - "The year ended well", but "we are not declaring victory", no, it's just one more day in loser-ville.
NOTE/REMINDER: I never have, do not now, nor ever plan to hold GYI.
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.