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City break
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Continued success of royalty‑free licensing and our plans for a phased retirement of rights‑managed creative images

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Over the years, customers’ needs have changed. Complicated licensing models create friction and customers demand simplicity—they want the most simple and most flexible access to relevant, authentic imagery.

Royalty‑free (RF) imagery is now the preferred and dominant licensing model for our customers ­due to the simplicity, value and quality available. Licensing complexity has only led customers to other content, and in many cases, another provider as the broader industry is now essentially an RF‑only model.

We conducted extensive customer research and testing on RF versus rights‑managed (RM), including Market Freeze. We have confidently concluded that the RM creative image licensing model no longer meets our customers’ needs, especially given the flexibility demanded by digital marketing and the increasing reuse of imagery, and it actually reduces our overall competitiveness.

As a result, we plan to simplify our product offering through a phased retirement of RM creative images, moving to an RF‑only creative images offering during 2020. This will benefit customers and provide an opportunity to grow overall licensing volume and revenue for both Getty Images and our contributors:
  • When a customer uses GettyImages.com, they will have only one simple licensing model (RF) which contains all of our creative images.
  • Images appearing in customers' search results will be the most relevant—no longer will the results include RM, regardless of relevance—opening up more search exposure for creative RF.
  • Our customers will be able to focus on the one thing that matters to them—finding authentic quality content that connects with their target audience.
We see this fundamental change in our business model as key to furthering our growth and increasing the accessibility of amazing content to new customers and new markets.  

Your RM creative images
By the end of January 2020, your RM images will be removed from single image licensing (sometimes called à la carte) on GettyImages.com. Customers will still be able to complete renewals and purchase RM creative images for at least the following 30 days after that. Premium Access customers will still be able to access RM images until November 6, 2020.

When RM is fully retired, you will be able to distribute your RM images as you wish, with the exception that you must not license any RM images (or similars) in a way that conflicts with any active, unexpired exclusive licenses. We will contact you again in November 2020 to confirm that RM has been fully retired and provide a report detailing such licenses.

We will stop accepting new RM creative images on November 6, 2019 at 11:59pm CET/ 10:59pm GMT/ 5:59pm EST/ 2:59pm PST. You can find out more in our FAQs, below.

RF opportunity
We encourage you to grow your RF portfolio with new fresh imagery to meet current customer demands, which you can do under your existing agreement.

For guidance and inspiration, you can review our creative briefs, which identify the most needed subjects for our customers and enable you to respond to gaps in our RF collection. Our briefs reflect the research of our industry‑leading Creative Insight team, including market trends and customer licensing data, and are available on the Contributor Community Website and our Contributor app.

If you have any questions or need to contact us, please refer to the frequently asked questions below and regularly updated in our online contributor forums on the Contributor Community website.
 
Best wishes,

Paul

Paul Banwell
Senior Director, Contributor Relations
Getty Images | iStock

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you plan to make changes to the RM editorial stills licensing or the rights‑ready video licensing model?
There are no planned changes to either RM editorial stills licensing or rights‑ready video licensing at this time. Both of these models continue to serve our customers well.

Why are you making these changes?
As a company, we have to ensure that we constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of our customers. We have undertaken extensive research into our customers’ needs, their attitudes to RM and RF and the overall market, to understand how customers want to license imagery.

RM creative licensing no longer services the needs of our customers, given the flexibility demanded by digital marketing and the increasing reuse of images.

The move to license creative content through an RF model simplifies the purchasing experience for our customers and ensure our customers are receiving a broad and flexible RF license that matches their usage needs.

What evidence do you have for customers rejecting rights‑managed?
We conducted extensive customer research and testing on RF vs RM, and we have confidently concluded that RM creative licensing no longer services the needs or wants of our customers. Our analysis showed:
  • Steady decline: Continued year‑over‑year decline in Creative RM à la carte licenses over the last five years, with declines accelerating over time. Declines are driven from a reduction in the number of customers licensing RM due to the complex license model and high price.  

  • Market Freeze: Earlier this year, we introduced Market Freeze to differentiate rights‑managed (RM) from RF Stills by including a base level of exclusivity with RM licenses. This has not seen the customer interest we had expected, and RM licenses and revenue continue to rapidly decline.
When will you stop accepting new RM images?
We will stop accepting new RM creative images on November 6, 2019 at 11:59pm CET/10:59pm GMT/5:59pm EST/2:59pm PST.

Can I change the files in a current submission, that have not yet been inspected, from RM to RF after November 6, 2019?
Uploaded files that have not yet been submitted (but have been saved with RM as the preferred license model) or are “awaiting review” can be considered for RF as long as you leave a submission note that the submission is intended for RF. If you do not leave a note by November 11, 2019, 11:59pm CET/10:59pm GMT/5:59pm EST/2:59pm PST the files will be rejected. Please note that the “preferred licensing model” is no longer available in ESP.

Also note that similar files from the same shoot cannot be considered for RF if other files from the shoot have already been accepted into RM.

Can I resubmit revisions to RM submissions after November 6, 2019?
Files that have been sent back for revision can be resubmitted and considered for RF as long as you leave a submission note that the submission is intended for RF. 

If you do not submit the revised file with a note by November 11, 2019, at 11:59pm CET/10:59pm GMT/5:59pm EST/2:59pm PST, the files will be rejected. Please note that the “preferred licensing model” is no longer available in ESP.

Also note that similar files from the same shoot cannot be considered for RF if other files from the shoot have already been accepted into RM.

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