Could Flickr become the next Getty Images (one of the top stock photography suppliers to news companies)? Hellman & Friedman recently bought Getty Images for $2.4 billion dollars as reported by the BBC here. It will be interesting to see what they do with Getty and how they compete with “open source” photo sites like Flickr. Search for any city, building, person, or newsworthy subject and you can usually find it on Flickr. With the growth of camera phones, user-generated photo news will only become more widely available, cheaper, faster-to-market and ultimately highly competitive with services like Getty. For example, take a look at the growth of the iPhone among all of the camera phones on Flickr on the bottom of this page. Which photographer is going to get to the news scene sooner, an iPhone user or the professional photographer? OK, so maybe the iPhone quality isn’t that great now. But in the news world, speed is everything and users taking the photos will win that race.
While Hellman found great success buying DoubleClick for $1.1 billion and then selling it to Google for $3.1 billion, they may very well have a harder time with Getty. This video suggests that Flickr could become the next top supplier of photos to news organizations. I don’t doubt it. Could this be the glossed-over gold amidst Yahoo’s Microsoft buyout?
In closing, check out this graph on Alexa where you can see the amazing 5-year growth of Photobucket (the backend for photos on community sites like MySpace) and Flickr (positioned as the largest community site for photographers) compared to Picasa.com, GettyImages.com, and KodakGallery.com which are all flat.