iStock reveals revenue, photographer payouts

The Getty Images subsidiary for the first time spilled a couple interesting beans about its microstock business for 2007: how much money it pulled in and how much it paid out.

For the first time, iStockphoto has revealed how much money it pulled in by licensing large numbers of photos, videos, and other imagery for relatively small fees, and how much it paid out to the producers of that content.

In a forum posting Tuesday, iStockphoto head honcho Bruce Livingstone said the Getty Images subsidiary had 2007 revenue of $71.9 million, and it paid $20.9 million to those who contributed the imagery it licenses.

That's a pretty interesting illustration of what user-generated content can sell for, at least in one context.

"We are now selling an image every 1.4 seconds through this industry-changing marketplace," Livingstone said in the posting.

Getty is in the process of going private in a $2.4 billion deal announced in February.

"One thing we've always had to keep close to our chest is our financials. Maybe it's our Canadian background, but we've always found it a bit cheeky and rude to discuss money," Livingstone said. "With the recent announcement that Getty Images is going to be a private company owned by management, employees, and Hellman & Friedman, you'll see lots of numbers floating around about iStock's financials."

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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