Getty Images Completes Acquisition Of Photolibrary; Second Deal This Year

Photo distribution company Getty Images has finalized its acquisition of stock images service Photolibrary as it seeks to expand its international reach, particularly in Asia. This is the second acquisition Getty has done this year, the first being April’s purchase of digital rights management company PicScout.

Terms of the Photolibrary deal weren’t disclosed. Jonathan Klein, co-founder and CEO of Getty Images, cited increased demand for professional images, and the deal gives Getty access to 44-year-old Photolibrary’s 10 million images, plus thousands of hours of footage and composition music.

The global upheaval this past year, including the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami and nuclear catastrophe, along with the Middle East democracy movements, have led to greater demand for professional photography. That has helped raise Getty’s profile among news outlets and the company has struck partnerships with The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, Sky News and The Boston Globe, said Marc Kurschner, Getty Images’ VP of sales for North America.

“We’ve seen an increased demand for digital content in both our editorial and creative businesses,” Kurschner said in an e-mail, declining to provide specific revenue numbers. “Yes, the shorter and more intense news cycles as well as the increased number and speed of publishers and advertisers have contributed to significantly increased volumes of images being licensed. Imagery is appearing in more places and across more mediums elevating both the supply and demand for quality content, both commercial and editorial. It’s natural that budgets ebb and flow with the economy which, at times, may influence demand in our commercial imagery use.”

The acquisitions this spring are meant to help Getty manage that business as the stock photo industry has experienced a good deal of consolidation the past few years and news outlets have relied more and more on outside sources for photos. Getty was at the center of that consolidation when, after one failed attempt, it acquired smaller rival Jupitermedia (NSDQ: JUPM) for $96 million in the fall of 2008.

Since then, it has worked to adapt to the rise of user-gen photography and social media by striking a strategic partnership with news aggregator and software provider Daylife and Yahoo-owned photo sharing site Flickr.

“Rapid technological and social developments are blurring the lines between content consumers and content creators,” Kurschner said. “We are committed to championing the creation and curation of digital visual and audio content – whether developed by amateurs or professionals. There is a market for both.”