21 January 2008

The Image Economy

According to The New York Times today, Getty Images is going up for sale. The report speculates that the biding price for the company could be $1.5 Billion (U.S.) with the buyer likely being a private equity firm. This sort of move would further centralize the image 'market,' converting into even more of an oligopoly.

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Anonymous Dawei from Beijing said...

I'd be interested to know what private equity firms would want with Getty. I would think someone like Rupert Murdoch might be interested in a business like this. Profits in image distribution are in serious decline. Corbis, which is owned by Bill Gates, hasn't turned a profit, yet. With all the cheap or free photos made available by everyday folk, paying top dollar for a "nicer" image seems hard to justify from a business standpoint because, ultimately, consumers can't differentiate. We'll see what happens.

22 January, 2008 04:09  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...


"The company has attracted interest from several buyers, mostly private equity firms, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital and others."

That, according to the folks at the Times. I don't know anything about these firms. I do think you are right about the profitability issue. That makes me worry a bit about what a buyer might do with the image holdings.

22 January, 2008 09:51  

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