Photo agencies have often struck deals with camera manufacturers – the aim being to create new sources of revenue, or to enable their members to save on the price of equipment. Getty Images has gone one step further this week after it announced a long-term partnership with Samsung that will see the creation of a Samsung Collection of stock images
On 27 January, at the annual Samsung European Forum, Jonathan Klein, CEO of Getty Images, took to the stage to announce that the stock agency had signed a deal with the South Korean electronics manufacturer, in an effort “to help people across the world share their stories through the power of photography”, reads a prepared statement.
Partnerships between photo agencies and camera manufacturers aren’t a novelty – Magnum Photos and Leica have a shared history, Canon and Nikon sponsor most agencies including VII Photo, Noor and Getty, and Sony just signed a deal with Panos Pictures and William Klein to help promote its cameras. BJP understands that Sony also approached Magnum Photos last year, ahead of the launch of its A7R professional compact camera.
Yet with the creation of a Samsung Collection of images shot exclusively with Samsung’s NX cameras, Getty Images is seeking to deepen its ties with the manufacturer. “I think Samsung has a strong commitment to the democratisation of photography and, even more importantly, connected photography,” said Craig Peters, senior vice president of content, marketing and business development, in a phone interview. “We very much share that motivation. There’s a solid alignment of how we see the world and how we want the world to be, which is a more image-rich place and a more connected place.”
Getty Images’ multiple-year, long-term partnership will start with the agency’s editorial photographers shooting with Samsung’s NX cameras. “There are several benefits to using that camera,” claims Peters. “We benefit from the connectivity of that device. We need to get content out of the field and to our website as quickly as possible, and having that connectivity helps. It’s not that we can’t do that with other cameras, but the simplicity of the Samsung device is useful.”
He adds: “We’ll also be giving Samsung feedback on the cameras. What can they improve? What do they love about the cameras? That feedback is incredibly valuable to Samsung.”
While such terms usually form part of all partnerships between photographers and manufacturers, it’s the first time an agency has agreed to create a collection of images based on the devices used by its photographers. “It’s unique,” Peters agrees. “It’s something we haven’t done in the past. We’ve structured collections around other factors, but it’s the first time we’ve done it in relation to one device. I’m very interested to see what happens when we don’t define the collection by the parameters of the content. We’re excited to see what people will do.”
For Samsung, the benefits are apparent and attractive: the South Korean corporation will be able to use any of the images in the collection to promote its cameras. And while only a handful of photographers have been given NX cameras at the moment, Peters expects Samsung’s devices to become an integral part of Getty Images’ kit. He’s quick to point out, however, that the NX “is not intended to replace the high-end DSLRs we’re shooting on. It’s just another piece of kit.”
Getty Images also plans to tap into the Samsung community and user base to source new content for its stock library. “Any time we can do that is great for our business,” says Peters. “But it’s also great for Samsung users: their work can be exposed, distributed and commercialised.”
Cash for images
For Samsung, this will also translate in a cut on each image transaction. “When we sell content that was generated through Samsung’s devices, there will be consideration of the fact that Samsung was a contributor in creating that content,” Peters explains.
It remains unclear how Getty Images will source images from Samsung’s community, but Peters hints at the possibility of mining directly from “some of the community components that exist within Samsung’s environment – whether these communities sit inside Samsung’s apps or within other applications such as Instagram, EyeEm or any other mobile apps. We’ve proven we can do this with Flickr, where we now have over 50,000 contributors. We can scale that up, as long as the content is interesting for our customers.”
Finally, Getty Images is also looking to use the partnership to improve “technical workflow components using, for example, some of Samsung’s devices, such as their tablets, in the field”, Peters tells BJP. “I think there are a number of items we’re going to develop over time, given the breadth of Samsung’s product line and our business objectives.”