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Articles from February 2017
It is worth looking at recent Shutterstock
statistics. In the conference call yesterday Shutterstock said they had over 190,000 contributors at the end of 2016. In 2016 Shutterstock paid out about $138.400,000 to contributors. If we divide the total number of images in the collection (116,200,000) into contributor royalties on average contributors received $1.19 per-image in the collection for the full year.
Recently, I was contacted by a Business School student who is developing an app that “will be used by internet publication firms, as well amateur and professional photographers.” He asked if I would provide some insight into the industry, specifically on topics such as photographer compensation, and the market share of "real photo’s" vs. stock photos. Here’s my response.
Back in February 2016 microstock.top
began using archive.org/web/ to search thousands of creator portfolio pages at www.shutterstock.com
and record the data. This is not hacking, fishing, use of an API or insider information. These pages are accessible to everyone.
has reported Q4 2016 revenue of $130.2 million and a total of $494.3 million in revenue for all of 2016. The full year revenue was up about 16% from $425.1 million in 2015. There were a total of 167.9 million downloads for the year up from 147.2 million in 2015. While revenue grew 16% the collection size grew 63% to 116.2 million up from 71.4 million at the end of 2015.
An editorial photographer in London pointed out to me today that he has to notify Shutterstock when his pictures are used in order to get paid. Evidently Shutterstock doesn’t know that it is standard practice of many publications in the UK not to notify the agency
when they use an image. Instead, they wait for the agency or the photographer to call them or send them an invoice.
(IC), a leading photo and video agency on the Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, has signed a three-year exclusive agreement with the Chinese Super League (CSL), the country's most prestigious football league.
Back in November
iStock contributors were told that “Due to the complexity of the work required (in the iStock Royalties and Unification Project) we are pushing back most of the changes by about a month.” Given the new system for calculating subscription royalties that was being introduced, January statement would not be available until February 20th
and royalties would be paid on February 25th. February 20th has passed. Still no statements.
A top 2017 priority for the major image distributors should be to reverse existing pricing trends and find a way to begin to increase usage fees to some extent. Usage fees have been steadily declining for a number of years. The industry must find a way to turn the corner.
Is there a future for editorial photographers in France? France used to be one of the most vibrant markets in the world for editorial photography. That seems to be rapidly dying, not because of a lack of French publications (See chart
) that want to use editorial pictures. Some just don’t want to pay for the images they use.
I was recently asked if I had any statistics on the number of unique RM/RF images available for commercial licensing. Last September Justin Brinson said he had more than 500,000,000 unique RM and traditional RF images (no microstock) on his PicturEngine
platform. These images were provided by 64 different agencies and a number of individual photographers.
One things that surprised me about the research I did for the Alamy Measures
article was the small number of sales that were recorded.
I Made A Mistake
. In last week’s story on Alamy Image Manager
I said that “contributors have no idea how frequently customers use a particular word to search for images.” That turns out to be totally wrong.
More and more frequently RM photographers are receiving notes from their agencies, or the production companies representing their work, suggesting that they move some of their older images to RF. This make sense for images that might have been good seller at one time, but haven’t made any sales in the last year or so.
As image databases get larger and larger, keywording becomes more and more important as photographers try to get their work high enough in the search-return-order for the images to be seen. Often creators must spend more time keywording than they spend taking pictures. In addition, image distributors are constantly coming up with new strategies that often necessitate going back and re-keywording images that have already been uploaded.
together with various other visual arts associations (what we are loosely referring to a Coalition of Visual Artists –DMLA, APA, ASMP, GAG, NPPA, NANPA, and PPA) filed a joint response to a proposed rulemaking by the Copyright Office on Group Registration of Photographs.
As of January 19, 2017 Shutterstock
had 119,292,457 royalty free stock images in its collection according to www.microstock.top
. They had added 1,352,852 new stock images during the week. I recently discovered microstock.top which provides some very detailed breakdowns of Shutterstock contributors. It is unclear how frequently they will update this information, but it is the kind of information that can help everyone in the industry – Shutterstock contributor or not – have better understanding of Shutterstock’s business.
Action by the DMLA and other photography trade associations successfully headed off proposed legislation by the Maryland Senate Finance Committee aimed at preventing copyright owners from “making certain assertions of copyright infringement in bad faith”. The bill stipulated that a court may consider, among other factors, the absence of a certificate of copyright registration accompanying the letter as evidence of bad faith.
Based on the number of downloads Shutterstock had in the first three quarters
it looks like they will report about 167,000,000 total downloads for 2016 when they report their full year numbers on February 27, 2017. Last year they reported
147,200,000 downloads for 2015.
has also announced a collaboration with Adobe to introduce a select set of 500px images to Adobe Stock users within the Adobe Stock Premium Collection
Some Getty Images RF contributors have begun to share sales data with iStock Signature contributors and are coming to the conclusion that they can earn more money from images in the iStock Signature collection than from images on Gettyimages.com.
says they are “testing” new subscription options that allow customers to download either 10 or 50 images per month. The prices for these packages are $29 and $99 respectively on an annual purchase plan. This seems to be a reaction to the iStock and Adobestock subscription offerings (see chart below) that have been in place for some time.
Twenty-five to 30 years ago there was a large demand for stock images relative to supply. Prices to use a stock image -- while reasonable when compared to what it cost to hire a photographer for an assignment -- were much higher than they are today. It was possible for a professional photographer to produce a lot of images that no one wanted to buy, and still earn a decent living from the few that did sell.
Jon Oringer, Founder/CEO of Shutterstock Images has sent the following letter to staff and contributors outlining Shutterstock’s position on the recent immigration decision.