Reacting to various articles and blogs about changes and redundancies in both companies I contacted both Getty Images and Corbis to get an idea of the scope of the changes and the background for the decision that is impacting staff at both companies. The Corbis changes were announced in the various offices last week and the impact will be felt in various countries. This follows a June reorganisation in the US.
A reduced demand for highly produced stock photography combined with a new, and easier way to source images through the, mostly automated, microstock model has had an impact on the production process- and teams at both companies. Corbis has gone one step further and is also re-aligning its sales and marketing organisation as a result of reduced call volumes and more transactions taking place online. This is having an impact on sales, marketing and production teams.
Upon contacting Alison Crombie at Getty Images she shared the following message:
I can tell you that Getty Images is not undergoing “layoffs.” We are in the process of evolving our Creative business, which has been affected by the many changes in the traditional stock photography business over the last few years. This team will now focus on finding and sourcing emerging original photography, as well as evolving the way in which we work with our contributors.
In terms of the reasons behind this, as you know, we’ve seen many changes in the traditional stock photography business over the last few years the business and the industry is changing, with growth being seen in digital uses and some decline in print advertising. The emergence of microstock and other low-priced alternatives has reduced the demand for highly produced stock photography from the levels we knew a few years ago. Therefore, we are evolving our business to align with these ongoing changes. We are also seeing new sources of original photography continue to emerge, as well as an ongoing evolution in the way in which we work with our contributors.
In terms of number of people affected, as a private company, we do not share this type of information. However, I can tell you that it is a very small number of people, and an extremely small percentage.
I also talked to Dan Perlet at Corbis and he explained what parts of the organisation would be impacted by the proposed reorganisation:
The proposed changes are the result of a twofold trend; on the one hand the company wants to better leverage the internet to serve clients and drive more traffic. On the other hand it wants to use the internet to source photography in a more streamlined way.
The first team that would be impacted is sales. For the past 2 years Corbis operated with “contact centres” that took inbound calls and “local market teams” that were responsible for account management of designated clients and face to face contact in each market. Those roles will now be combined. With call levels down the local market teams will take over the inbound role from the contact centres. A reduced contact centre will focus on outbound calling only.
The remaining team will be focussed on driving web-traffic. Instead of focussing on designated accounts the staff in the local market teams will have shared responsibility for their clients. This allows them to address spikes in traffic and will reduce the risk of a client not being able to get in touch with their designated sales person. Some large clients will still be assigned to specific staff but information will be shared.
The second team that will see changes under the proposed reorganisation is marketing. Corbis will centralise marketing in London where it will follow an online strategy focussing on search engine marketing, online advertising and social media. This refocus on online marketing means a reduced focus on events. The proposed plan is to phase out local marketing roles that focus on events and this would impact a small number of people.
Corbis is also looking to “refine the production area”. More content will be brought in through partners and more trough automated services like Veer marketplace. A few roles would be affected in this area. The remaining production team will focus on filling specific gaps in the collection. The industry has changed and large volumes of production are no longer necessary
Neither company will give specific numbers but a post on Wikipedia seems to indicate that the changes at Corbis affect about 80 people.