A Global Vision
How Getty Images Takes Full Advantage of the Promise of the Internet
By Lisa Yorgey Lester
A picture can convey a meaning or thought without a single word spoken or written. Add the ability to transfer digital images around the world via the Internet, and the result is a product that crosses borders, transcends language barriers, and is ideal for global e-commerce.
Getty Images, a Seattle-based imagery company, is taking full advantage of the global reach of the Internet. Founded by Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein in 1995, Getty Images creates, preserves and markets still and moving images for use in multiple media—including print publications, films, advertising and TV—in more than 50 countries.
Its main distribution channel, gettyimages.com, is home to more than 70 million images and allows the company to sell multiple collections of imagery to customers around the world. In fact, more than 50 percent of Getty Images' customers reside outside the United States.
Virtual Global Marketing
The launch of gettyimages.com was the culmination of a seven-year period of acquisition. Getty Images had acquired many image companies around the world, each of which had its own Web site. In September 2001, the company turned a corner as 29 independent sites were merged into one site operating from a single platform.
Within a year of its launch, gettyimages.com generated more than 90 million page views, more than 1.2 million unique visitors and 3.2 million visitor sessions. This translates to an average of $1.3 million in sales daily. Web transactions now account for 90 percent of the company's business.
Advances in desktop publishing and digital design allow Getty Images to license and deliver its images directly to its customers via the Internet. In the pre-digital age, customers would have to call their local sales reps and ask for images which would then be sent by courier within 24 hours.