Getty Images to Pay Amateur Photogs for Flickr’s Slickest Pix

Yahoo-owned Flickr and Getty Images have inked a deal that could help photographers with pictures posted on the photo sharing site hook their work up with the largest media licensing company in the world.

The effort, dubbed “The Flickr Collection on Getty Images” is the culmination of a longterm desire to create a way for consumers in the digital publishing industry to access photos on the site in way that respects the talent and rights of Flickr members.

The partnership allows Getty editors to cull high-quality photos from Flickr and add them to its online catalog. Getty will pay photographers whose pictures have been selected a standard licensing fee.

“The really heavy Flickr users are going to be professional photographers or aspiring photographers, people with a fair amount of talent and ability and time to indulge it. In that sense, they are kind of opening up an avenue for their key core users to get more out of the service. I think it’s a smart move on their part,” John Barrett, research director at Parks Associates, told the E-Commerce Times

Photo Albums

To search the copious number of photos available, Flickr and Getty Images are building a platform that will enable Getty editors to search and identify photos they would like to feature in the collection and contact Flickr members directly.

For those aspiring photographers not content to wait for a Getty to reach out to them, they can post their photos on the firm’s iStockphoto site.

No date has been given for the launch of the Flickr Collection on Getty Images.

Natural Extension

Users of other sites such as Snapfish and Kodak Gallery should not expect similar deals with their photo-hosting sites, Barrett noted, because those sites are much more focused on sharing photos with friends and family.

“One of the things about Flickr is that it’s public sharing. It’s a community of people really into photography. For those who want to share their pictures with each other, with all the rating algorithms they have, you go there and it sorts through, and you start to see some really nice photos,” Barrett explained.

“A very natural extension of that is that now that we’ve built this community of photographers and found a way to identify the photos people are interested in seeing through the algorithms, it’s really just a small step to license photos,” he continued.

Deep Pool

The partnership gives Getty a pool of 2 billion images that the company can tap into, significantly expanding its portfolio with “a high degree of subject granularity,” according to Allen Weiner, a Gartner Research analyst.

“Given that Flickr affords powerful search capabilities and rich community tagging, Getty editors are likely able to find that photographic needle in a haystack,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Once a photo has caught the eye of an editor and been deemed worthy, Getty will offer three royalty payment options to Flickr members: rights-managed for high-production value and selected for a specific use; rights-ready for fixed price points based on usage; and royalty-free based on image resolution, allowing multiple uses.

“Given the number of photographers on Flickr who use higher-end digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras such as the Nikon D300, the pool of those who could reap financial benefit from the Getty deal is fairly substantial,” Weiner noted.

Riding Flickr

Of particular interest, however, is how this deal will shape Flickr’s future as a Yahoo company, he said.

“Flickr, acquired by Yahoo in March 2005 from its founders, remains a crown jewel in the Yahoo stable, based on its monthly unique visitors — 28.5 million according to Compete.com — and is the No. 20 domain. Despite those numbers, Flickr seems to be a siloed business around which Yahoo has not built a strong halo that connects it to its other social media efforts,” Weiner explained.

“Yahoo must not only keep Flickr’s entrepreneurial spirit alive but also make better strides in using it as a centerpiece for other social media efforts, as well as exploit it to drive Yahoo’s mantra to become an essential starting point for consumers. The Getty deal is smart in that it adds to the engagement level for Flickr community members but does little to add to Yahoo’s strategic vision, which is in sore need of some energy,” he concluded.

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