This week saw the sale of Getty Images to private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, as well as the launch of royalty-free, paywhat- you-want image service Moodboard. With traditional business models being challenged, what is the future for the image library?
The acquisition of Getty Images for perhaps more than its market value, and the fact that the Getty family still holds shares, demonstrates investors see future growth in the company. The industry will continue to prosper from new businesses like Moodboard, which respond to the new demands of the user. Those who don’t address the challenges of microstock and social networking are likely to fall by the wayside. Moodboard is perfectly placed to capitalise on the benefits the new on-line image library industry can offer.
Mike Watson, Chief executive, Moodboard
This has caused quite a debate with us, the consensus being that, as more sites are developed with ‘user-driven content’, people are finding, sharing and acquiring imagery this way. The diversity of imagery from Flickr is better material than any image library. How long before it creates an option for users to sell their imagery? The Southbank Centre is currently running a Flickr competition with its Alexander Rodchenko show, making an ideal showcase for unknown photographers.
Kingsley Shaw, Founding partner, The Design Conspiracy
Getty Images’ sale to a private equity firm and the dominance of royalty-free sites suggests a huge shift in the marketplace. This reflects the rapid democratisation of the medium which has been happening over the past decade – not just in the production and sharing of photographs, but also in the sale and distribution of images. Some of the old, big agencies offer expertise, but the new situation gives the photographer greater opportunities in the global market.
Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery
Talented photographers and filmmakers provide a wealth of image choice for creatives and media professionals, and they need to be rewarded. It’s their right under current UK copyright law – and in most other jurisdictions – and best served by orderly, transparent markets. Royalty-free, pay-what-you-want services could have a detrimental effect as a disjointed and uneven market may arise. Hopefully, image originators will still be paid royalties and fees, and their intellectual property will be protected.
Dids Macdonald, Chief executive, Anti Copying In Design