On January 23rd many contributors to Veer and Corbis Images received the following email, which outlined the sudden buyout of the majority of Corbis’ assets to Unity Glory International. While there didn’t seem to be any clear signs of this coming, the recent decline in any sales or interest in Veer now seems to make some sense. More on that below. First, here is a copy of the email.
Corbis, VCG, Getty Images & You!
Today Corbis is announcing the sale of the Corbis Images (excluding Splash), Corbis Motion, and Veer licensing businesses to Unity Glory International, an affiliate of the Visual China Group (VCG), a leading Chinese visual communications and new media business. In connection with this transaction, VCG is excited to announce the expansion of its longstanding partnership with Getty Images, and, following a transition period (which we’ll explain in more detail), Getty Images will become the exclusive distributor of Corbis content outside China.
As a valued contributor, we want to be sure you understand what these announcements mean for you and your content and the opportunities they represent for you going forward.
As part of this transaction, your existing Corbis agreements have transferred to VCG, however in practical terms nothing changes for the time being. The Corbis sites, licensing and royalties processes will continue to operate as they do today.
Over the coming months, select content from the Corbis collections will be identified and invitations will be extended to you for migration of those files to Getty Images. For those of you whose content is selected who do not currently work directly with Getty Images, you will be offered a direct contract that will apply to migrated content and any new submissions you choose to make going forward to Getty Images. If your content is selected and you are already contracted to Getty Images, you will be offered an assignment letter to move content selected for migration to your existing Getty Images’ agreement.
During this transition period, all content will continue to be available through Corbis, and, as it’s migrated, content will also become available through Getty Images. Content that is not migrated to Getty Images will either continue to be represented by VCG, or distribution rights will be returned to contributors.
We’re very excited to represent your great content and look forward to expanding its reach through the unparalleled global sales and distribution network of Getty Images to almost one million customers in nearly 200 countries.
We’ll be sharing more specifics on the migration process over the coming weeks, but in the meantime please refer to our FAQ for additional details.
Veer & Corbis Images Buyout – What Does It Mean
There is an important quote in the first paragraph that says “we’ll explain in more detail” what the transition period means, and what will happen after this. I would expect to see Veer shut down completely in the very near future, as there has been zero investment in it recently and sales have all but dried up. Looks like the demise of another stock agency, with Getty Images taking over more control of the industry once again. You have to wonder what Shutterstock thinks of this, and whether they may have even been considered in the potential purchase of Veer and Corbis. Surely they can’t be happy about Getty gaining more market share.
Looks like if you are already selling through iStock (Getty owned) and you have a Veer account with the same content, then there is no benefit at all in this new deal. But perhaps if for some reason you struggled to get accepted at iStock / Getty then this may be good for you, if you are selected to migrate.
What do you think the means for contributors to Corbis-owned sites? We would love to hear your comments below.