Getty Images has an eye out for the big picture. The visual content provider is a major supplier of creative and editorial imagery, photography, stock footage, and music. It also offers photo services for corporate clients. The company targets markets such as advertising and graphic design firms; editorial organizations (newspapers, magazines, and online publishers); corporate communications departments; and film and broadcast producers. Getty Images has customers in more than 100 countries around the world; most of its sales come from outside the US. Getty Images was founded 1995 by Mark Getty (chairman) and Jonathan Klein (CEO). Today private equity firm Hellman & Friedman owns the company.
Over the years, Getty has expanded both its library of images and its content services through a steady stream of acquisitions. In 2011 it acquired PicScout, a firm that identifies image use, metadata, and licensing information on the Web. The company made the purchase to help clients to better manage their content licensing. Also in 2011 the company purchased Photolibrary, an Australian provider of creative stills imagery. Getty was attracted to Photolibrary because of its presence in India, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, which will allow it to expand its global services.
Previously Getty made industry news when it acquired Jupiterimages, a subsidiary of WebMediaBrands (formerly Jupitermedia), in 2009 for $96 million. Through the deal, Getty picked up more than 10 million images under a plethora of brands that included Creatas Images, Liquid Library, Photos.com, Clipart.com, and Animation Factory. The purchase also gave Getty music assets, including royalty-free music sites eStockMusic and Flying Hands Music.
Through these acquisitions Getty has launched new products. It used the Jupiterimages purchase to introduce a new subscription model in 2010 called Thinkstock (previously a Jupterimages brand). Thinkstock sells both user-generated content and professionally art-directed images via monthly or yearly plans that offer a set number of downloadable images from its library. The subscription offering adds to Getty's iStockphoto e-commerce site, which focuses on individual sales by selling licensed user-generated images.
Hellman & Friedman paid a whopping $2.4 billion, including assumed debt, for Getty Images in 2008. The deal was struck after the company hired advisers to help evaluate ways to increase shareholder value. – less