Announced recently, Getty Images is doing one huge pivot in their business model next year: the agency is set to gradually drop their Rights Managed creative collection in 2020.
That’s right, Getty Images is going full-on Royalty Free for their commercial-use imagery. And you what that means: iStock will now be at the lead of their business.
Read on for more details on this decision, how they’ll implement it, and what it means for you as a stock photo buyer.
A Phased Retirement for Getty Images’ Rights Managed Licensing
According to the announcement the company made recently, Getty will retire the RM creative images from their offer gradually throughout next year, to focus on their Royalty-Free offering – which includes child agency iStock.
Their outline states they will exclude RM marked imagery from their search engines at the end of January 2020, meaning you won’t be able to see them in results anymore. They will not show up in the single image purchase option (on-demand) either, although they'll remain available for bulk purchase and their Premium Access service for some time longer.
Finally, the agency will effectively remove the RM creative collection from their catalogue by the first week of November 2020.
However, the process has already started, as they are not receiving any more RM creative contributions from photographers as of now, and they encourage photographers to submit more RF content to their platform.
It’s important to note these changes apply only to the commercial-use images – what they call “creative” images. Editorial Rights Managed content will not be affected.
What’s In for Me with this Change?
If you are a seasoned stock photo buyer the answer is pretty obvious but for those of you getting started or still unravelling the secrets of image licensing, the answer is: Royalty Free is a much better deal for you in many ways.
It’s simpler – Getty Images already has Royalty-Free images for commercial use available, of course, both on their main site as well as on iStock. But by eliminating RM imagery they are simplifying their offer, thus making your life easier when searching and purchasing photos from them.
It’s cheaper – This agency focuses on high-end and exclusive photography, which is reflected in its pricing. But RF is much more accessible, with images costing up to $499 each –and the chance to save a lot using Ultrapacks— versus the $1500 of the cheapest RM license.
It’s easier – Royalty-Free license, being a canned-styled agreement is also a lot easier to work with, from a creative standpoint. You don’t have to bother with the complexity of custom rights such as medium, duration, and the like. All you need to do is select an image, pay for it, and a license with a preset list of usage rights is issued under your name.
What About RM Images I Already Purchased?
If you have an active RM license with Getty Images that runs longer than 2020, don’t worry. The way they are doing things implies all licensing in place will be honoured.
They established that photographers who own the copyright to the images will be free to license them or use them at their discretion, but without interfering with any of the active licenses sold upon them.
You can rest assured that your license will be respected until its expiration.
Why is this Such a Huge Move?
We’ve been telling you all along that Royalty-Free license has dominated the market for years, and talking to you about its many benefits. So why is it so big that an agency abandons Rights Managed licensing in favour of Royalty Free, you may wonder.
Well, because this is not just “an agency”, this is Getty Images, one of the oldest and most renowned companies in the industry. And it happens that Rights Managed has been at the core of their business pretty much since they started. See more about this in our Getty Images review.
While the decision makes sense, it’s still a big change for them.
Why Are They Doing This?
Long story short, because RM is no longer where the money is. The company has said they have been seeing a steady decline in their Rights Managed business year to year, and even their latest twist offer from last year, Market Freeze, was not met with the level of interest they were hoping from their customers.
All in all, creatives’ needs now revolve around digital marketing and a large volume of new graphics constantly and are better-met with Royalty Free photography. For the gross of stock photo buyers Rights Managed simply doesn’t cut it.
With this insight at hand, the agency finds a shift towards Royalty Free to be the most logical course of action.
And what do you think? Are you surprised the long-time RM master is moving to RF?