When it was learned that Getty Images was shuttering its' entire wholly owned creative stock division, it didn't come as a surprise to me, in fact, it was expected. What is really disappointing is the "kum-ba-yah" message that Dunce-In-Residence CEO Jonathan Klein wrote, and which we posted recently, about how proud he was of his Getty team. He once again seems to have lulled people into a false sense of (job) security, only to pull the proverbial rug out from underneath the staff department that creates Getty's wholly-owned content.
By far though, the happiest person to see this department shuttered is likely to be well known baby photographer Penny Gentieu. Why?
Gentieu sued Getty Images in January of 2000 because, well, she alleged that Getty was copying her best-selling images of babies that Getty had to split the royalties with, and re-created them with their wholly-owned creative content division so that they didn't have to share that revenue, and could keep the entire stock sale. (Indepth story/legal commentary here: Corporate Injustice: An Interview with Penny Gentieu).
Where I first learned of this today, was PDNPulse - Getty Images Comments on Creative Stock Layoffs - and one thing stood out for me - the Getty Statement that they likely begrudgingly made because "As a private company, we are not able to share any specifics as to the number of employees", they noted " the roles are global in nature..." Yes - sources have previously reported to me that some of Gettys' global staffers for the creative division were involved in studios in the Far East, where photographers cost only a few dollars a day, and who were busy creating wholly-owned content based upon the track record of images that required a split. These images were then integrated into the search results with higher placement, pushing further down the page (or even onto a secondary page) so that the sales where all the money went to Getty were more likely to be bought. Likely, if these staffers still existed, they're gone now.
As underperforming divisions continue to be analyzed, look for more Getty cuts/redundancies, and departments shuttered. Don't count it out of the realm of reality that, just as AOL purchased Time Warner and then Time Warner took over and is giving AOL grief for earnings these days, Getty Images - which bought iStockphoto, could wind up being the Rights-Managed step-child of iStockphoto in the future, answering to the penny-stock gods.
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