The Eastman Kodak Co. said Tuesday that it will sell its Image Bank, a collection of 30 million photographs and 15,000 hours of stock film footage, to Getty Images for $183 million in cash in order to focus on its separate online photo-delivery operation.
Once finalized, the deal will create one of the world’s largest archives, with more than 60 million still images and 30,000 hours of film that is widely used by movie, TV and commercial productions.
Regular users of Image Bank’s footage include NBC’s “Profiler” and syndies “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and “Xena: Warrior Princess.” On the film side, Chicago footage was used in Fox’s “Fight Club.” Shots of Miami and Boston’s skylines were used in Universal’s “For Love of the Game.”
“By moving on to the Getty organization, the Image Bank becomes part of a larger organization, offering a broader range of images and services with new opportunities for growth,” said Joerg Agin, prexy of Entertainment Imaging, the Kodak division to which the Image Bank reported.
Kodak said it will focus on “offering customers images from other visual libraries through Picture Network Intl.,” a separate subsidiary. PNI operates PictureQuest, an online catalog of stock photography and royalty-free images.
The sale of Dallas-based Image Bank is expected to be completed in December and will be financed through a combination of debt and a sale of 5 million Getty Images shares.
Seattle-based Getty Images, a 1,600-employee photo archive company, distributes much of its content on the Internet.
The Image Bank, founded in 1974, was acquired by Kodak in 1991 and contains the largest photo archive collection in North America. The company has 500 employees and had sales of $70 million last year, compared with Getty Images’ revenues of $185 million.
The Image Bank’s photo archive contains historic still images from United Press Intl., the New York Times, Reuters, the Chicago Historical Collection and the George Eastman House Collection in Rochester, N.Y.