Colorific, the formerly successful UK photo agency bought by loss-making Getty Images a little over a year ago, has reportedly had its office staff reduced to two as a result of budget cuts imposed by the parent company.
The agency is only one of many victims of the latest round of cuts announced by Getty yesterday. 300 people – 13% of staff worldwide – are to be made redundant, and the sackings have already begun; shares in Getty Images fell 31% as the news spread.
This was not the only bad news recently at Colorific. Two weeks ago photographers received a letter co-signed by Getty Images Director of Artist Relations Anthony Harris, in which he thanked contributors for their patience, and then announced that due to “conflicting content issues” the agency would no sell longer stock and travel material, and that such material would be “regretfully” returned to photographers.
In plain English, rather than corporate-speak, what this meant was that Getty had realised they had bought up too many agencies with similar competing material, and it was time to prune what they perceived as deadwood, under the guise of those old friends consolidation and rationalisation.
The brilliance of Getty’s new marketing strategy was soon revealed when a national newspaper picture editor called Colorific for a picture known to be on their files only to be told: “No, you can’t have that now; we don’t deal in stock any more.”
Getty’s year long ownership of Colorific has widely been regarded as a disaster by the agency’s photographers, some of whom have taken to placing their material with other agencies. “Basically Getty have shut Colorific down”, commented one long standing contributor; “this letter reads like something from someone going out of business.”
Which presumably they will, given Getty’s marketing.
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