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Updated: Mon 25 Jan – Confirmed: Demotix goes to Visual China Group
22nd Jan: So, this has been rattling around the rumour box for six months and finally we have an answer:
Corbis has been sold to Visual China Group ..who have a partnership with Getty Images who will now be distributing Corbis.
This just landed at a UK newspaper photo desk, a customer of Corbis’ celebrity image brand Splash:
‘Today we [Corbis] announced the sale of the assets and brands of Corbis’ Images division, including the Corbis Motion and Veer licensing brands to an affiliate of Visual China Group. Visual China Group is a leading visual communications and new media business that is focused on the development of cultural and entertainment products and online animation games, Internet broadcasting, intelligent multimedia products and animation design.’
The good news for you is that nothing will change regarding Splash. Our Splash content team will continue to acquire the best entertainment content and our Splash sales team will continue to be available for you 24/7.
In fact, Splash is one of the core assets in our strategy as we look to accelerate our transition into an entertainment content and advertising focused company. We are excited about the opportunities that exist and are confident that we have the right strategy, financial resources and a great team in place that will extend our leadership position even further. Now, with even more focus on Splash and our Splash News TV (SNTV) business, we will be committing more energy and providing greater global resources that will help us and you grow our businesses.
Here’s the interesting part : As a valued Corbis customer, we want you to know that nothing changes immediately for you today regarding Corbis Images. You can continue to find and purchase content using your existing account and with the assistance of your current sales representative. Moving forward, Visual China Group will be expanding their longstanding partnership with Getty Images, and, following a transition period, Getty Images will become the exclusive global distributor of Corbis content outside of China. Over the coming months, Visual China Group and Getty Images will migrate Corbis Images and Corbis Motion content to gettyimages.com where it will become available as new collections.
Here’s what you need to know:
Q. Why did Corbis decide to sell Corbis Images to Unity Glory and Visual China Group?
The sale of Corbis Images to an affiliate of Visual China Group maximizes the value of the asset and allows Corbis to accelerate the company’s transformation into an entertainment content and advertising business, with three market-leading divisions: the Branded Entertainment Network, which is leading product integration platform; Splash, the well-known celebrity content business; and, Greenlight, its rights representation and clearances business.
Q. What is VCG acquiring?
Under the terms of the agreement with Corbis, VCG will own and manage the names and trademarks associated with the Corbis Images, Corbis Motion and Veer licensing brands, and will be responsible for the licensing of all images associated with these brands in China and around the world. This includes the renowned Bettmann and Sygma Archives, but does not include Corbis Entertainment (to be rebranded) which includes BEN, Rights and Splash.
Q. What is VCG not acquiring?
The sale does not include the three Corbis Entertainment businesses – the Branded Entertainment Network, which is leading product integration platform; Splash, the well-known celebrity content business; and, Greenlight, the rights representation and clearances business. After a brief period while it continues to operate these three businesses under the umbrella of Corbis Entertainment, Corbis will be focused on building and growing its entertainment content and advertising business under a different brand.
Q. Why did Corbis choose to sell at this time?
Corbis is thriving and growing rapidly in it’s entertainment content and advertising businesses, including the Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), Splash and Rights.
Corbis Entertainment has significant opportunities to continue to lead globally and innovate in its entertainment content and advertising business with a particular focus on product integration, providing global brands and media agencies with end-to-end access to Film, TV, OTT, Digital and celebrity product placement opportunities.
Q. Will VCG continue to use the Corbis name?
Unity Glory, an affiliate of VCG, will own and manage the worldwide images and motion archives, names and trademarks associated with Corbis Images, Corbis Motion and Veer. VCG will determine the future use of the Corbis name and trademarks.
Q. Will Corbis Entertainment continue to use the Corbis name?
As part of the agreement, Corbis Entertainment will be rebranded in the coming months. BEN, Splash and Rights will keep their individual brand names but operate under the new umbrella brand name, reflecting the company’s focus on entertainment content and advertising.
Q. What happens to Splash?
As Corbis Entertainment intensifies its resources, focus and efforts to develop and grow its entertainment content and advertising business, Splash will continue to be an important part of Corbis Entertainment, providing valuable celebrity content and images.
Q. What happens to Corbis’s Rights business?
Corbis Entertainment will continue to provide world-leading rights and music clearance services, as well as rights representation for celebrities and iconic personalities.
Here’s the timeline build of VCG:
2014Successfully listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange
Expanded Advance and fully launched into the digital entertainment market; Three major business sectors are: visual content and service, visual digital entertainment, and visual social network.
2012 Acquired TungStar, the biggest entertainment content provider across mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and entered the entertainment industry;
Shijue.me went live online into operation;
Founded Visual China Group, integrated all visual content and focused on such as key business.
2005 Established joint venture with Getty Images, the largest digital image company in the world, marking entry into the commercial market by focusing on creative content.
2000 Set up the first internet image company in China.
Here’s some of what Getty Images say:
The partnership follows VCG’s acquisition announced today of Corbis Images, Corbis Motion and Veer. Under the terms of that agreement, Unity Glory, an affiliate of VCG, will own and manage the worldwide images and motion archives, names and trademarks associated with these three Corbis licensing brands and Getty Images will have exclusive distribution rights to these Corbis brands and content.
VCG has partnered with Getty Images for over a decade to market and distribute Getty Images’ award-winning content exclusively in China. After a transition period, Getty Images will exclusively offer Corbis creative stills, Corbis Motion content and Corbis archival and documentary content to its global customer base outside of China.
This partnership brings together the best creative and editorial imagery and combines Getty Images’ renowned Hulton Archive, the largest privately held archive in the world with an estimated 80 million images dating back to the beginning of photography, with Corbis’ Sygma and Bettmann archives. The Bettmann Archive is a significant historical image collection comprising of more than 16 million photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries, while the Sygma Archive holds 34 million images covering Europe’s most important historical events.
“As the most trusted and esteemed source of visual content in the world, Getty Images is always innovating and investing to bring customers the most comprehensive and diverse offering of quality content,” said Craig Peters, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Product and Content at Getty Images.
“We are excited to deepen our longstanding partnership with VCG, a trusted business partner for Getty Images in China, and to offer an unprecedented breadth and depth of gold-standard content across creative, editorial, archival and video, which customers will be able to access through an expanded and unified service at gettyimages.com and through our market leading sales teams all over the world.”
Amy Jun Liang, Chief Executive Officer of VCG, said: “We are proud to work with our partner Getty Images to assemble such impressive visual assets and work together to better serve our customers around the world. This maximizes the commercial value of the assets, strengthens our market position in the industry, and marks a significant milestone in the expansion of our business portfolio to the world. As one of the largest companies in the image industry, we foresee a growing interest in China and around the world for premium visual content and we look forward to collaborating with Getty Images to fulfil this demand.”