In a way, Flickr is kind of the unofficial stock photo service of new media, so this makes sense… the Yahoo-owned photo site now has a deal with stock photo giant Getty that will see some Flickr users have their photos resold through the company. Exact details of how it will work financially weren’t announced, but basically Getty will hand select certain Flickr users, inviting them to be part of a special collection at GettyImages.com. Those pictures will then be available for editorial or paid licensing opportunities. Flickr GM Kakul Srivastava told PDNOnline the licensing revenue would be split between Getty and the user, with Flickr getting none directly, but that the two companies also have a business relationship. Ultimately, it doesn’t sound like this will be a major revenue boost for the site, which gets most of its money from pro accounts — unless it encourages more signups. Also in the interview, Srivastava indicated how Flickr users could get in on the program: produce great photos that Getty customers want. Release.
Avid photographer, blogger and outspoken Flickr user Thomas Hawk chimed in, expressing optimism on the deal, though he wondered how it would fit into Getty’s existing business model, which draws a line between its premium stuff and its lower-end iStockPhoto site: “iStockphoto sells images for much less than Getty’s traditional stock photography business, typically marketing images at $1, $3 and $5 per image. It would appear that with this new offering, Getty is going to treat at least some of Flickr’s images as they would their own ‘Pro’ photographer imagery. My own expectation would be that current Getty ‘Pros’ are probably none too happy about having a new horde of ‘amateurs’ jointing their ranks and competing with their own image sales.”
Some more from Thomas Hawk, who’s currently attending a photo summit up in Redmond. According to a representative form iStockPhoto, this partnership is going to be very small at least to begin with. It will only offer, for the time being, 2,500 images, which is less than a drop in the ocean for both Flickr and Getty (NYSE: GYI). As for when it might extend beyond that, there’s no official line. As Thomas Hawk notes in the comments below, he was initially given the wrong information. In fact the plan is to launch the program with tens of thousands of images.