Until recently, the news about Getty Images was almost always that the Seattle-based stock footage supplier had grown…again. The company has been expanding at a rapid pace, primarily through the acquisition of other libraries such as one-time competitor Visual Communications Group, which Getty purchased last year (see RealScreen April 2000). But, after announcing an expected second quarter drop in revenues of four percent, Getty appears to be scaling back. The company says it plans to bring down operating costs by reducing staff from 2,300 to 2,000 (about 13%).
In a prepared statement, Getty co-founder and CEO Jonathan Klein attributed the drop to a ‘weaker than expected economic environment’ in both the domestic and international markets. However, not everyone agrees with his assessment.
David Fishbein, president of L.A.-based Fish Films Footage World, theorizes that Getty’s revenue decline has more to do with its size than the market. ‘I don’t doubt that their sales are down because of how gigantic they are. This is not meant to be that big a business… I’m not saying that business hasn’t slowed down a little bit, but when it slows down a little, these monster companies feel it much more than the independents do.’