back to article BBC grabs stock photo of own building

The TV licence payers among you are going to like this: The BBC has apparently turned to Getty Images for a stock photo of its own building... BBC report with Getty image of own building Evidently, the taxpayer-funded (despite what Peston says) telly monolith is a bit strapped in the digital photography operative department …


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  1. ka7ana

    Too risky

    If they sent a photographer out to take a quick snap, they'd probably get stopped by the police for taking "sensitive" photos of the building and charged with being a terrorist.

    1. Tony Humphreys

      Health and Safety

      In addition, the tea-boy-armed-with-camera would need a 3 week course in digital photography or the unions would walk out, then he would need a press pass, full kit of dayglow gimpware and for insurance purposes the road closing, airspace temporarily halted and protective eyeware, becuase the sun is a killer.

      Plus, a database would need to be created by anyone that may stray into the shot, to store their image releases, and a lawyer a week to draw ud such document.

      This is the BBC, after all.

      1. Graham Wilson
        Thumb Up

        You're correct, the country's fucked isn't it?

        You're correct, the country's fucked isn't it?

        It's no wonder Asia etc. is wiping its arse with the English-speaking West when governments pass laws which require so much procedural bullshit to be undertaken instead of expecting people to act responsibly--something which they should have learned by rote way back in early schooling. It's no wonder so little of consequence ever gets done.

        Instead of warring in Afghanistan we'd be better of declaring full-scale war on the self-serving safety industry, actuarial services and insurance companies. Over the past 30 or so years, aided and abetted by irresponsible media, they've changed a timid population into a frightened frenzy.

  2. James Thomas


    I wouldn't be suprised if the BBC had an all-you-can-eat deal with Getty. It was probably cheaper to buy the image than to organise a photographer and equipment.

    1. James 7

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Indeed they do. The BBC pays a flat rate and can use whatever pictures are needed. Quicker than sending someone outside with a camera, downloading the picture to the desktop and then uploading it to the CMS.

      Story FAIL.

    2. aThingOrTwo

      Took the words out of my mouth…

      This is what I hit the comments section to type.

      The BBC has certain quality mandate. A fair bit of care has gone into the composition and lighting into that photo.

    3. Graham Wilson

      What? Antie Beeb with no stock photos of BBC HQ? Utter Bullshit!

      Uh ? What? Are you really expecting me to believe that Antie Beeb has no stock photos of BBC HQ?

      Utter Bullshit!

      What other large corporation doesn't have a stock photo of its headquarters? None--right? Even the antiquated, outmoded, politically-correct, boring and unfashionable BBC will have such stock photos somewhere--even if they date back to Lord Reith's tenure!

      What's really happened is that some fucking Bozo with access to the online Getty Images account has been too lazy to walk down the corridor to the PR department to ask for them.

      He's none too bright either as he could also have swiped a public domain photo from Wiki which would have sufficed.

      If I was a BBC executive then I'd fire him--not for wasting money on the Getty image but for bringing more public attention to how fucked the organisation really is.

    4. Graham Wilson

      @James Thomas. Even so, it's so unprofessional and amateurish to have a 'Getty Images' logo

      Even so it looks so unprofessional and amateurish to have a 'Getty Images' logo instead of the BBC's or none.

      It's just another small sign indicative of how unprofessional the Beeb has become in recent times.

  3. Stef 4

    Dear Points of View...

    Dear Points of View,

    Why oh why oh why oh why does the BBC continue to waste our licence fee on things like this? Why can't we have more costume dramas featuring that nice Frankie Boyle chap, or hard-hitting in-depth documentaries on the "Rise of Reggi-Reggi-Sauce in Waitrose" narrated by Jonathon Ross? (Think about it).

    Instead we have BBC fat-cats too busy to send the work-experience-student to stand in the sun taking pictures of the building. Too busy watching England win the World Cup, or the cricket or whatever it is these BBC fat-cats get up to with my licence fee, more like it.

    It was all different during the war. You couldn't even get nylons back then. We had to stain our legs brown with tea and gravy, then draw a line on the back. Tsk, don't get me started on the Anderson shelters.

    Yours sincerely,

    Edith Bagglebottom

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Edith related to Mike Phelps?

      Letter to the Daily Mail

      "Wouldn't it be great if TV coverage of the World Cup was limited to England's games, those of hosts South Africa and of the tournaments 'big guns'. Then we would be spared the ordeal of having to sit through a match between Bongo Bongoland and the Former Soviet Republic of Bulimia and other meaningless events. Mike Phelps, Yeovil"

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Compared to England...

        Bongo Bongoland and Bulimia ARE the big guns

    2. Gulfie

      Won't somebody think of James Corden?

      Please, please stop wasting money on Getty Images. We must think of James Corden in these fiscally challenged times.

      Last night I watched 30 minutes of BBC2 andwas outraged after not catching a single glimpse of James Corden. Use the money saved to ensure that the hilarious Mr Corden is seen regularly on all your channels, I really don't think he's on our screens enough at the moment. Perhaps you could arrange for him to commentate at Wimbledon? Or be a celebrity ball boy? He has the perfect figure for it, after all...

  4. Peet McKimmie

    Another explanation

    I would suspect it's more likely that BBC News and Websites have an "unlimited" Getty subscription, so in effect it would have been cheaper for them to grab the image from Getty than to send the teaboy out.

  5. Jamie Kitson


    They've changed the image.

    As others have said, I'm sure grabbing the image from Getty was cheaper than sending a photographer outside, just think of the health and safety costs.

  6. Andy Nugent

    Is this a story?

    Really, someone paid a couple of quid to use stock photo rather than wasting half an houe to go downstairs and take a picture.

  7. Pierre Castille

    Hulton Picture Library/Getty Pictures

    The Hulton Picture Library - once owned by the BBC, was sold to Getty Images some time ago. I am sure there is some reciprocal arrangement between the Beeb and Getty, so it is probably much easier to grab a photo from a file than download it from a digital camera.

  8. Simplepieman

    BBC seem to be wasting cash on Facebook adverts too

    Saw this on Twitter this morning, are BBC actually paying for Facebook ads to get visitors to their comedy website? WHY??!

  9. Rob Beard

    It's changed now

    The image has changed now. To be honest though I wouldn't be surprised if they had internal stock photos they could have used, especially an organisation such as the BBC.

    No doubt they do have a bulk purchase with Getty Images, but still you'd have thought they have images of the BBC building (for instance, oh I dunno, when they do outside shots of the buildings for programmes etc).


  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd say they're doing the licence fee payer a favour

    When you consider the considerable expense and logistical nightmare involved in changing one of their own light bulbs on their own front wall, they've probably done everyone a favour by simply buying a photo from someone else.

    Not only will they receive a royalty from Getty, but it'll have cost them a tiny fraction of what sending someone outside to take an original shot on a BBC-owned camera would.

    Well when I say 'someone', it's unlikely it would be just one person. It's a busy place, outside a BBC building. Health & safety probably dictate that a team must go to encircle the photographer and watch out for accidents and incidents whilst the photographer's attention is focussed on his viewfinder.

    But then the people gathered around him get in the way of the shot, which has to be overcome by using a step ladder. That means the photographer first needs to go on a course to learn how to use a ladder and then dress up in a hard hat, knee pads and goggles. And then there's the additional insurance. Plus, thanks to John Birt, the BBC no longer keep their own hard hats and goggles, so they must be hired from an independent supplier, who, the moment they hear it's for the BBC, suitably adjust their hire rates.


  12. BIll Jones

    Their image library is a bit limited

    I once asked the BBC library for footage of the BBC and they said they did not have any. This went on till we got thrue to a manager who said that this was silly and they must have something. He finaly found some thing after a couple of weeks.

  13. Ball boy

    They're all too busy...

    ...doing live pieces outside Government buildings at 10pm (do we really expect something ground-breaking to come from a Whitehall politico at night? They don't do that much in the DAY) or sending the helicopter up to capture a 'situation shot' of a crowded beach in summer (what's that, skippy? There's a pretty girl down there? Zoom in & hope she does something vaguely sexual that's just within broadcast limitations - good for ratings, that - bugger all use to covey the core message but since when was that important on the news?).

    Contract film-making to third-parties and lose control of the content? Pay an over-rated buffon to abuse a celebrity on Radio (note: self same over-rated buffon sells his show to the BBC via his own company and thus makes a very tidy profit over and above his appearance fee).

    Waste money? Auntie? Nooo, never happen. Paragon of virtue and common sense, that one.


    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Not their fault

      The BBC didn't just wake up one morning and decide "let's contract everything out."

      They were told they had to, with quotas imposed, and more recently the new rights regime, all in the name of greater competition (which, as we know, is always an unalloyed good and works for the consumer's best interest. What's that? You need to know a phone number...)

      And, indeed, introducing another 'internal' market for services within the corporation didn't help, either.

      As other have said, since the BBC sold their picture library to Getty, they very likely to have a deal for use of images. Not, of course, that will stop the usual suspects having a go.

  14. Mr Young

    I not sure I can take anymore of this.

    I think I maybe weeped/leaked/dribbled with laughter - I'll have to check.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh rly.

    I'm glad that the reg seems to think that taking a picture is as easy as point and shoot.

    I think you will find that composition, lighting etc will play a big part. Then there is another issue.. That's a busy area do you close it or Photoshop the people out?

    What if some twat trips over the tripod.. Public liability insurance doesn't come free... Because PI claims cost money.

  16. Trevor 3

    And now....

    ....the poxy BBC have wasted the poxy £2 they spent on a poxy Getty image replacing it with a poxy piccy taken on a poxy iPhone. They could have at least spent poxy 15 poxy seconds making the poxy phone level.

    How do I know its a poxy iPhone? Because the image leans down to the left, and you can't hold the phone with your left hand can you?


    Double fail and what a waste of time and money. Poxy.

  17. Steven Jones

    General Taxation

    To be fair, Robert Peston said it wasn't funded from general taxation, although he failed to mention that it was funded (programme sales apart) from a hypothecated tax which is a fine point. For those that doubt it, it is recognised as such by parliamentary bodies.

    " The licence fee is a standard hypothecated tax on access to television in its entirety (not just on BBC channels). The Government decides what proportion of the licence fee income should go to the BBC, and currently the BBC receives it all. The BBC collects the fees on behalf of the Government and decides on enforcement and prosecution policies. "

  18. marschw


    I'm not sure if I remember right, but isn't the Getty text only in the unlicensed sample version of the photo? That is, once you pay for it, they give you a version that doesn't have that "GETTY IMAGES" across the bottom (thus, the photo in the screenshot wasn't licensed)?

    That could also explain why it's changed now.

  19. churchr

    I guess the Beeb reads the Register too

    I notice now that they have taken the advice of ElReg and sent the Tea Boy out to take a photo od the building, although it looks like he could not afford an iphone....

  20. John H. Maw

    The Reg has it wrong

    In this case the Reg has got it all wrong. Even if the tea boy had gone out with a mobile phone and taken a snap the BBC should have paid for the photo as copyright would have been owned by the tea boy. How you think you know that the shot would have been better I don't know, but I suspect that it suits the rather lazy thinking nature of this piece to assume so. The Beeb bought an image legitimately and presumably one which was thought suitable for the context in which it would be used. They did the right thing in this case. Of course it would have been better if they had commissioned a photographer to take a shot specifically for the purpose, and even better if that photographer had been me, but what they did was entirely ethical.

    Perhaps the Reg should stick to commenting on tech stuff and leave comments on photographic matters to people who know a bit more about it and comments on legitimate use of BBC funds to those who have thought it out a bit better.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    They changed it to an image from a mobile, and by the fog I'd say an iPhone 3 TBH it does look Crap!

  22. Charley 1

    Well, from the new image name,

    namely tvc595.jpg, I'm guessing they have another 594 of them lying around they couldn't be arsed to look for.

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