If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Corbis has lots to say. The firm's archive of more than 100 million images is one of the largest in the world. Corbis licenses its images -- contemporary and archival photography, art, illustrations, and footage -- for commercial and editorial use in print and electronic media. Customers can find and license images via the company's branded websites, which include Corbis.com, CorbisMotion.com, and Veer.com. Corbis also offers artist representation (matching photographers with assignments) and rights services (securing rights to images controlled by third parties) through its GreenLight unit. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates owns Corbis, which he founded in 1989.
Overall, Corbis has about 20 offices in about a dozen countries in the Asia/Pacific region, Europe, and North America. Altogether it does business in more than 50 countries.
The company's imagery represents contributions from more than 30,000 photographers, and is categorized by documentary, fine art, archival, current events, and entertainment collections. Highlights of the Corbis archive include images from Ansel Adams, the Bettmann Collection, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Meanwhile, the company's GreenLight division includes talent negotiation, rights clearances, and other licensing activities involving celebrities, feature film and TV clips, music, and trademarks. Through GreenLight, Corbis represents the name, image and likeness rights to celebrities and historical figures including Albert Einstein, the Wright Brothers, and Steve McQueen.
While still images represent the bulk of Corbis' archive material, the company also has multimedia holdings through Corbis Motion, a website featuring high definition and royalty free video clips. Sources of video include major content producers such as Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer , National Geographic, Sony Pictures Entertainment, HBO Archives, and the Smithsonian Channel. In 2011 Corbis added more than 200,000 clips to Corbis Motion, bringing the total number of video clips in its collection to more than a half million.
In addition to its efforts to expand its video library, Corbis has also been working on growing its Corbis Images holdings through acquisitions and partnerships.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2011 it acquired Splash News (Los Angeles-based candid celebrity photography) and invested in Demotix (breaking news photography from local photographers). Also that year it formed a partnership with The Associated Press (AP) through which the two organizations post each other's photos on their respective websites. The agreement includes a total of more than 10 million digital photos, with the AP and Corbis supplying about 5 million each.
The company expanded its entertainment-related holdings in 2012 when it acquired product placement agency Norm Marshall & Associates for an undisclosed amount. In 2011 GreenLight was selected to represent Charlie Chaplin.