Getty Images Begins Rolling Out New Subscription Formats

With the dust settled on Getty Images’ $96 million acquisition of Jupitermedia’s online images business over a year ago, *Getty* is introducing a new subscription model aimed at user-gen and professional photographers. All subscriptions will go through ThinkStock, which was part of Jupiter Images. It will be combined with Getty’s user-gen e-commerce image business iStockphoto. In an interview with paidContent, Getty’s CEO Jonathan Klein (image, left) says the company plans to roll out a variety of subscription formats over the next five months that aims to capture customers with small budgets, such as individual bloggers.

The company had been carefully experimenting with subscription formats for the past year, Klein said. Getty (NYSE: GYI) had used its Creative Express offerings as a way to test consumer attitudes about subscription images. The result of that test will be demonstrated this week. The first of the new subscription tiers will include monthly and annual subscription rates. A monthly subscription will cost $249 and users will be limited to 25 downloads per day or 750 for the whole month.

Later on, Getty will release multiple image packages starting at $59. “We learned a number of things this past year about what subscribers will pay for,” Klein said. “In addition to price, which is the most important, subscribers want breadth and depth. They want constant updating of images and something to fit every conceivable category. This new subscription service brings together 3.5 million images. And we plan on building that up quickly.”

In addition to the subscription end, Getty is still focused on the individual sales through iStock, which Klein said did $200 million in revenue last year. “Even though iStock is a user-gen site, it has no ad support, it’s all e-commerce,” Klein noted. “Also, this is not an exaggeration: iStock sells a licensed user-gen image every second of every day. The subscription business is a good complement. We don’t see it negating that at all.”

While iStock is continuing to make strides, Getty is still wrestling with ways to make money from mobile. Klein sees potential there, but “nothing immediate.” The company used to sell a lot of background images, but with the ubiquity of camera phones, most consumers prefer to add their own images. In the meantime, Getty considers gaming to be a particularly lucrative area. “The gaming space continues to grow and developers have an insatiable appetite for images,” he said. “We expect that to be a more promising segment of our business this year.”