Getty Images Acquires Art.com, Targets $9B Consumer Art Market

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Getty Images, Seattle, a visual content provider in the business-to-business industry, acquired online art retailer Art.com (www.art.com), Lake Forest, IL, last week with the hopes of expanding into the consumer art market and increasing its customer base.


Through the acquisition, Getty will now be making its more than 30 million images available to online consumers through the Art.com site. According to Mary Waters-Sayer, Getty investor relations manager , the firm expects to have a number of its images available on the Art.com site within the next few weeks. She said the images available through Getty will fall into six categories: contemporary, royalty free, sports, historic, news and reportage photography and stock footage.


"We had been looking to get into the consumer marketplace for quite some time now," she said. "Business-to-business is estimated to be about a $4 billion industry for what we do, and by entering the consumer art marketplace, which is estimated to be about a $9 billion industry, we will greatly be increasing our market size and potential customer base."


Art.com, formerly known as www.artuframe.com, is an online provider of framed and unframed art and art-related products. It has major merchant partnerships with online portals Yahoo, America Online, Excite and Alta Vista where it places banner ads and other click-through buttons.


It also uses direct mail to steer traffic to its site. According to Michael Kahn, the vice president of marketing at Art.com, it is currently running a test direct mail campaign targeting new movers but is not planning to do any specific mailings focused on the merging with Getty Images.


"We are going to be integrating their images and will be featuring their products on the site for now," Kahn said. "That will be dove tailed into our marketing plans down the road. That may mean including their images in our direct mail pieces or in some of our interactive advertising, but for now there will be no particular direct mail campaign featuring them."


Kahn also said Art.com's first major direct mail campaign will be rolled out in the fall and it will target new movers.


The site is currently averaging 400,000 user sessions per month.


The site was redesigned and re-launched earlier in March and has more than 100,000 images including works by artists Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh as well as works by photographers Herb Ritts and Robert Mapplethorpe. Consumers can view more than 1 billion custom matting and framing combinations for their selected print before making their purchase. As part of the redesigned site consumers can put aside pictures they are considering to discuss it later with a spouse or rethink their decorating options.


As a result of the agreement, shareholders of Art.com will receive 4.51 million newly issued shares of Getty common stock.
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