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A few months ago Basar Hatirnaz surveyed microstock image producers for his doctorial thesis at Yeditepe University in Instanbul, Turkey. He got 400 responses from contributors with a wide range of experience in the microstock business. The results of his research provide some interesting insights into the microstock industry
In June 2014, Visual Steam
surveyed thousands of U.S. art buyers, art directors, art producers, creative directors and marketing professionals to better understand stock image buying behavior today (still photography and motion). The company has published the results of its 2014 Buyers Survey
. 100% of the respondents are buyers of stock photography.
Yesterday, I outlined how iStock’s new pricing strategy
may affect contributors. But, the bigger worry for iStock exclusive contributors and Getty Images may be what happens on gettyimages.com
. Here’s why.
Over the weekend iStock
launched its new prices to compete with Shutterstock
. The following chart shows the credit packages available at both iStock and Shutterstock and the average price per credit.
Are your Getty Images sales declining? It may have nothing to do with the quality of your images, the subjects you shoot or your keywording. It could be that customers rarely, if ever, get a chance to see your images. Currently Gettyimage.com
has 4,278,804 RM and 6,034,642 RF images on the site for a total of 10,313,446 in the creative section of the site. Getty has images from 103 different RM collections and 98 RF collections.
Photographer Espen Haagensen
didn’t know his photo of the Milky Way
had been chosen for the background image on iPhone 6 until a colleague who was watching the iPhone 6 announcement gave him a call.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the motion picture and sound recording industry has dropped from as high as 368,000 in 2013 down to just 298,000 in August, a 19% drop in just over two years. (See MarketWatch story
for more details.
A group of photographers, visual artists and affiliated associations have reached a settlement with Google that ends four years of litigation over copyrighted material in Google Books. The parties are pleased to have reached a settlement that benefits everyone and includes funding for the PLUS Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping rightsholders and users communicate clearly and efficiently about rights in works. Further terms of the agreement are confidential.
a viable market for stock photographers? It advertises itself as offering “Inspirational Royalty Free Photos” and certainly there are some beautiful images in the collection.
Computerworld reports that following a lawsuit from Getty Images
, Microsoft has temporarily removed the beta of the Bing Image Widget
from its website. However, for those people who uploaded the Widget prior to the Getty challenge the Widget still works.
Reuters reports that Getty Images claimed in a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York on Thursday that a new Microsoft product that allows website publishers to embed digital photographs on their sites is a “massive infringement” of copyrighted images.
With its new Image Embed tool Bing
is making free use of photos to promote and advertise its site. See the little Bing logo at the bottom left of each picture display. Bing is now able to advertise its brand, free of charge, on an other site that uses Image Embed.
Getty Images has pulled together from its many collections a group of images that they call Getty Images Prestige
. They say it is a “carefully curated selection of the world's most powerful imagery. Prestige images are distinguished by their unique aesthetic approach, exceptional craftsmanship and uncompromising quality - all available for use exclusively.”
On September 13th iStock
will “throw-in-the-towel” and adopt the Shutterstock
licensing strategy that all images should be equal in price regardless of the quality of the image or the cost of production. They will discontinue their practice of pricing based on file size delivered, and of having multi-tier price categories.
has asked a several footage licensing experts how they deal with the increasing demand for 4K footage. With roughly four times the pixels of standard HD footage (8.3 million versus 2 million), 4K footage offers remarkable sharpness, a great sense of depth and a much subtler color range. It is quickly becoming commonplace in the footage business. The experts asked to weigh in on the ins and outs of working with this new format include: Carol Martin of FootageBank
, Sterling Zunbrunn of Nature Footage
and Peter Carstens of Framepool
Be sure to read Getty Images CEO, Jonathan Klein’s comments
in James Estrin’s interview that appeared in the New York Times August 27th. Among the key takeaways are:
Recently Dennis Davis, an experienced Los Angeles corporate, lifestyle, and food photographer (see his portfolio
) posted the following on a blog. “I am moving out of commercial assignment photography into selling my photography after the fact. I am looking for recommendations on stock agencies and methods for selling fine art images and video.
After my story on Bing Image Widget
yesterday I decided to do some more searches for photographers and stock agencies to see what I could find. The results are revealing. I started with “John Harrington photography.”
Microsoft's Bing has created the Bing Image Widget
making It possible for any Bing user to imbed, free of charge, on their web site of blog any images found in a Bing Images search. Here's a simple demonstration of how it works.
You may have seen references to the “Monkey Selfie” and Wikimedia’s claim that there can be no copyright on the photo. Wikimedia claims it can use the photo without any licensing because it was the monkey that took the photo. Photographer David Slater supplied the equipment the monkey used and made the image available to the world. (The monkey hasn’t figured out how to use the Internet yet.) Get more information about the copyright debate.
(the Digital Media Licensing Association) has announced some of the panelist and speakers for this years conference that will be held in New York from Sunday, October 19th through October 21st. For more details check this link
Over the years Flickr has built a very popular photo site that has attracted over 6 billion images from image creators. Many of these images (probably a very small percentage of the total) are excellent, marketable images. So good, in fact, that since 2008 Getty Images has added almost 900,000 of them to its Creative Stills collections.
Will bloggers with the iPhone 5s and the VSCO Cam Photo App that enables control of focus, exposure and white balance change food photography and reduce the demand for professionally shot food images?
has a specialized image collection that is in high demand for wall and poster art. Their subjects include: Healthcare and Biomedical Science, Armed Forces, Military Aviation, Space, Weather, Astronomy and Dinosaur Art
Last week Taylor Davidson published a list of 86 acquisitions and IPOs
in the imaging industry from 2004 to today. Included in his report are a lot of social media acquisitions that are probably of minor interest to my reader. In addition he left out a number of stock agency acquisition, many of which I believe are significant.
) (that's .co not .com) a new app designed to help those who need images find a photographer was launched recently. There are some interesting ideas behind this app, but in its current form it is probably something professional photographers will want to avoid.
Every so often I put together a list of the most important stories we’ve published in the recent past. If you are engaged in the business of stock photography the links below are to stories that we’ve published so far in 2014. If you are a subscriber you’ll be taken to the full story when you click the link. If you are a customers who uses “credits” you’ll be taken to a brief description of the story. At that point you will need to decide if you want to use some of your credits to read the full story.
has reported $80.2 million in revenue and total downloads of 31.5 million for Q2 2014. About 28 percent of the revenue was paid out to contributors in royalties. At the end of the quarter the company had 478 employees worldwide.
has opened an office in San Francisco at 180 Sansome Street will provide the company with an expanded presence in Silicon Valley. This connection to the area's top-tier technology talent will prove invaluable as the firm continues to offer innovate tools for its users such as the Dreamstime Companion App and WordPress plugin.
On Monday August 4th, Rohn Engh died of a sudden onset of infection causing serious pneumonia and multiple complications. The doctors and nurses at the VA hospital were excellent and did everything possible for him, never giving up. The infection took Rohn in one week. He was two months shy of his 85th birthday.
has announced to its community of image creators that it will be offering a licensing option, but it has failed to explain when it will happen or exactly how it will work.
ImageBrief reports that in July they made their highest single image sale ever, a $30,000 fee for a stunning aerial image of Rio de Janeiro
taken by Flavio Veloso of Brazil Photos.
In the near future Tom Zimberoff, Founder and CEO of PIXterity
, will be launching a new portal that proposes to supply member photographers with a huge amount of contemporary data (Big Data) that will enable them to know what image buyers are actually paying top producers for the images they purchase for their projects. Photographers who place their work exclusively with PIXterity are expected to get much better prices for their stock and assignment work. Currently there is a very interesting, long discussion on the LinkedIn Group of American Photographic Artists, APA
that readers may find interesting.
Can usage fees continue to drop? Most videographers think that Shutterstock’s prices
for video clips at $19 for web use, $49 for an SD file, $79 for HD and $299 for 4K are about as low as prices could go. Any lower and videographers would no longer go to the trouble of creating new clips.
Pearson’s conference call updating investment analysts on the company’s financial results for the first half of 2014, offered some interesting insights into where the education business is headed. By the end of 2014 Pearson will have cut its physical infrastructure and warehousing capacity in half compared to what it was 2 years ago. They will have cut 4,000 jobs, around 10% of the their workforce, primarily in print-related activities in mature markets.
Last week we published a story about AudioBlocks
a new platform licensing royalty-free music by subscription. Today, I want to examine the parent company, VideoBlocks
, that was launched in 2010 and licenses royalty-free video clips by subscription.
At iStock the “Most Popular” search option used to show images in order of popularity based on the number of times each image had been downloaded during its life of on the site. The first image shown was the one with the most downloads; the 2nd image was the image with the second highest number of downloads, 3rd had the third highest number of downloads and so on. This was true as late as the end of June 2014.
On July 19, 2014 the TV channel France24 broadcasted a comprehensive 11 minute report on "Why Google is annoying/ Pourquoi Google nous agace." This report has been translated into English and can be found here
Back in February European Union antitrust regulators reached a settlement with Google
in an unfair competition investigation that had been going on since 2010.
Singer-songwriter Adele has received a 5-figure settlement from Corbis Images UK for the taking and distributing photos of her 1-year-old son, Angelo. In a suit she claimed that children of celebrities are not public property and are entitled to privacy.
Fire! Can it destroy your business? Are your files protected? On May 30th Steve Cole and his wife woke at 2am with smoke in their bedroom. They had a couple minutes to get out of bed and escape the house. Luckily both got out with their dog, but their three cats that were very much a part of their family did not survive. They lost everything including everything work related in his home office.
The Palm Beach Photographic Centre
(PBPC), has invited the public to participate in the National Press Photographers Association
(NPPA) 2014 Best of Journalism Awards Show
on August 8th and a full Education + Community Day on August 9th with TED-style panel discussions.
, the first subscription-based provider of unlimited royalty-free stock video, has launched its third content platform, AudioBlocks.com. At $99 per year, AudioBlocks
is the only subscription service to offer unlimited downloads of over 100,000 high-quality, royalty-free music tracks, sound effects and loops.
James West, CEO of Alamy
, has just posted his latest answers to contributor questions at Ask James Take 3
. Highlights of the 10 minute video include the fact that sales of iPhone photos acquired through its Stockimo app are selling “slightly better” per 1,000 photos than sales of the rest of the Alamy collection. He gave no indication as to how many of the 1 million images per month are iPhone produced images.
As image users become more and more reluctant to pay much, if anything, for the images they need compensation for the use of photos may migrate to a barter system.
, the world’s leading online marketplace for video footage and stock media, announced today that it has raised $61 million in equity financing from Accel Partners and Stripes Group. The funding is the first institutional investment for the company and will be used to fuel global growth, hiring, and product development.
has released Dreamstime Companion
, a new iPhone and Android free mobile app that enables photographers to upload their own images directly from their smartphones. The uploaded images can be purchased by Dreamstime's more than eight million users, the largest designer database in the stock photography industry. More than 2,500 new photographers join Dreamstime every month, and the site now has more than 15 million monthly unique visitors.
Recently, there has been a flood of new websites focused on marketing stock. According to Michael Agliolo, a photography instructor at Butte College, StudentStock
has a different mission. “My partners and myself come from educational backgrounds, and would like to impact the stock photography business with a new model, and a new approach. Our site is all about the education of students. The selling section of the site is secondary.” Should students be looking to stock photography as a career? See my take.
Registration is open for PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo
, taking place October 29-November 1, 2014 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) will be an experience no photographer should miss this year! From a trilogy of world-class keynotes to photo walks throughout the city and a conference program of seminars featuring the industry’s finest working photographers, PPE continues to be the premiere annual gathering place for visual artists to inspire and be inspired.
has announced a major value boost by offering its members up to five times more default cloud storage (100GB for premium accounts) and expanded 100GB storage units, providing members with pay-as-you-go flexibility.
BookStats has reported that the U.S. book and journal publishing industry sold 2.59 billion units and generated $27.01 billion in net revenue in 2013. The trade sector - covering general consumer fiction and non-fiction – generated $14.66 billion in net revenue leaving about $12.35 billion for educational publishing. There were 2.32 billion trade book units sold and approximately 270 million educational books.
According to Techcrunch.com
Getty Images is overhauling its iOS App on gettyimages.com and iStock to make it easier for customers using mobile devices to source and purchase images. Also included in the Getty Images app will be Getty’s new Embed function
, () unveiled last March that allows user looking for stock imagery for non-commercial use to download images at no cost so long as the image is hosted on the Getty servers and not pasted to the users own website or blog.
After reading my recent series of stories on iStock (?See here
) a reader asked, “What are the implications for rights managed? Does it mean placing one's images with a number of websites is actually a self-defeating exercise and one only needs to place them with one super star agency and wait for the high returns to roll in? Or does that conclusion not apply to rights managed? Or are rights managed images dead in the water these days?” All good questions, read this story for answers.
After 10 years in operation, and with more than 800,000 images, the German microstock agency Digitalstock.de
has decided to cease operations and provide customers and photographers with an exclusive offer to continue buying and selling photos online at PantherMedia.net
After 11 years as an independent stock photo agency, at one time hosting over 300,000 images from 130 photographers, worldofstock.com
is in the process of making a significant change in response to shifts in the stock photo marketplace. Now photographers will pay a reasonable subscription fee (minimum $6.25 per month for 10GB of space), to have their images on a fully functional stock website where they keep 100% of any revenue generated from sales.
Many RM photographers still believe that microstock images are of much lower quality than RM and that customers who want images of the highest quality will continue to go to RM sites for the images they need. Unfortunately, they are only kidding themselves. (Note the difference in number of downloads in this story
Alamy has launched another “Ask James”, where customers, contributors and journalists can ask CEO James West any questions they have about Alamy, Stockimo, or the industry in general. Get Your Questions In.
Questions must be submitted via email to: email@example.com
no later that Thursday July 10th.
For most of the 431 top iStock contributors
adding more images to their portfolios does not seen to have had a significant impact on the growth in their number of downloads. In fact, those who grew their collections by the smallest percentage, or not at all, seemed to experience continued growth in sales. Seems counter intuitive.
Yesterday I provided a list of the 431 of the top iStock contributors
in the order of the total number of image downloads they have had in their careers. In the coming week I will explore some other ways to look at the available data. It is important to recognize that not all the people on this list are photographers. I have separated them into three groups – Illustrators (I), people with a mix of illustration and photography in their collections (PI) and photographers.
Robert Henson has provided an important perspective on the Decline of Image Licensing on Paul Melcher’s blog
. He succinctly outlines some of the key changes in the imaging business that will undoubtedly lead to a further price declines. There are also indications that fewer professional produced images will be needed as more and more customers find other ways to acquire the images they need. This is a must read for anyone looking for a future as a stock image producer.
On average, there has been a continued decline in the number of downloads for 431 of iStock’s leading contributors during the first half of 2014. I have been tracking the activity for these contributors for more than 2 year, and about half of them since 2009. Since these individuals joined iStock their images have been downloaded a combined total of at least of 54,291,100 times and a possible maximum of 56,658,200. (See for how I arrived at these numbers.
Since early in 2009 I have been tracking downloads of 192 of iStockphoto’s most productive contributors. At that time istockcharts, a service of multimedia.de provided a daily listing of the total downloads of most of iStock’s contributors. This list could be indexed by downloads so it was easy to determine which contributors had the most iStock downloads in their careers.
Fresh, brash and outspoken. With their uninhibited photographic style and unbridled joy of experimentation, food bloggers have conquered a huge fan community on the internet. No wonder even the traditional media are rolling out the red carpet for the new stars. Food bloggers get their own columns, produce cookbook best-sellers and operate cooking shows for an audience of millions. The most interesting among them are now at the center of a new blog where the food image agency StockFood
once again lives up to its reputation as a trendsetter.
In May AdAge reported that the New York based social media agency Laundry Service
has discovered that Instagram photos perform better than more professionally shot photos. The agency found that while regular photos achieved 2.35% click-through rate, Instagram photos achieved an 8% click-through. And even better, Instagram photos led to a 25% increase in conversion rate.
, reports that over 500,000 photographers and videographers from 177 countries contribute images to its service and that more than 70 leading media companies and brands including USA Today, News Corp Australia, Apple Daily, WAZ, Fiat, Finnair, Oxfam and many others use Scoopshot to gain instant access to a global pool of Scoopshooters. In the US, the Scoopshot user base has increased from 14,000 to nearly 50,000 in just six weeks.
Customers are becoming increasingly unhappy with being asked to search through tons of images and still not finding what they want. In many cases it is not that great images are unavailable, it is just that they are buried under tons of less desirable images. Curation is the answer.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a 2012 decision from the Southern District of New York absolving Photobucket.com
, an internet photo-sharing service, from violating Sheila Wolk’s copyright in her fantasy images paintings.
Paul Melcher’s latest on the “New Photo Agencies
” is worth reading. He discusses the Community Builders, the Scrapers, the On Demanders and the Hybrids, and notes that “the barriers between pros and casual photographers are going to completely vanish.”
Everyone agrees there is an oversupply of images. In spite of this fact many professional image buyers claim they can’t find good images or at least the images they need. As I look at what is available online today I think there are more good and great images than there ever have been, but often they are buried under piles of mundane images and images that are irrelevant to buyers needs. The problem is curation.
recently asked David Peck, President of Reelin' in the Years Productions
(RITY), the world's largest library of music footage and the exclusive representative of all footage from the Merv Griffin Show, to walk us through the basic steps involved in licensing entertainment and performance related footage.
Is stock photography about making money or just about learning how to take better pictures? There are different ideas on the subject and a variety reasons why photographers take pictures. As editor of Selling Stock, I thought I should make my position on the subject perfectly clear to my readers. The business of photography is changing dramatically. Part of the reason is that money is not a primary driver for many very good photographers that have easy access to image users.
Every year CEPIC brings together picture agencies from all over the world and becomes, for a few days, the Center of the Picture Industry. This year's Congress had over 500 participants from 35 countries and 280 agencies. It was held in the heart of Berlin, a few blocks away from the Brandenburger Tor.
A lot of attention is being given to finding a better way to search for photos. Those who believe technology can solve all the world’s problems are trying to build algorithms that will instantly find exactly the right image to meet the needs of each paying customer. With 1.8 billion photos being uploaded to the web each day and even professional sites like Shutterstock uploading more than 260,000 new photos each week there are more good pictures on any given subject than any professional user has time to look at.
PACA has just released a summary of it Sales Webinar that was conducted in May. The panel consisted of Leslie Hughes from Visual Steam, Candice Murray for Condé Nast and Sonia Wasco from Grant Heilman Photography. You can see the notes and view the power point presentation from the webinar here
The wonderful world of electronic tracking can have some downsides. It is great to know the exact GPS location where a picture was taken. This information can also be useful in searching for images that were taken in a particular city, country or other location.
In general, prices and revenue have been declining in the stock photo industry. To a large extent this has been due to oversupply and more and more customers finding the images they need at lower price points. Based on the information I’ve been able to collect, I have made estimates of the average 2013 gross license fee for images in the five major price categories – RM, traditional RF, Midstock, Microstock and Subscription. I want to find out if my readers think these prices are high or low.
Booking opened on June 10 to prospective exhibitors at Visual Connections New York Image Expo 2014
, which will take place on Wednesday, October 22nd.
In early October 2014 the UK government is expected to change its copyright legislation and introduce an Extended Collective Licensing (ECL) scheme
that will enable collecting societies to authorize use of any image within the UK. Please respond to this survey
) before 12pm 23 June 2014.
Every once in a while someone asks me if Corbis is a place to put their images? Corbis has a nice looking website and I assume they are still making a reasonable number of sales, but I never hear much about them. Photographers never tell me the are happy with Corbis sales, either in volume or price.
It may be time to retire Rights Managed as a licensing model. RM pricing doesn’t work for most customers anymore. Moreover, it no longer really maximizes the potential earnings of photographers.
There used to be a time when all image uses were in print. In those day when an art director purchased an image for a magazine ad, a book or a brochure she knew exactly how the image would be used in the layout and how many copies would be printed. Those days are mostly gone forever.
Launched in March 2013, Stocksy
continues to grow dramatically. The company is paying out almost $200,000 a month in royalties and is on tract to generate something in the neighborhood of $5 million in gross revenue in 2014.
has added a handpicked collection of fancy images to its archive of more than 28 million images. The Premium Collection
is composed of special interest images like architecture, food, ecology and sustainability as well as people and lifestlye.
May was another record month for Image Brief
with 128 photographers receiving awards for an average image sale price of $1,238. (That’s $158,464 in total sales.) Three photographers -- Matthew Doggett
, Rainer Waelder
and Slobodan Blagojevic
-- each had sales for $10,000 each.
iStock’s sales seem to have been declining over the last few quarters. About 75% of iStock sales are at Midstock prices totaling roughly $180 million in 2013. There are indications that customers and creators are increasingly dissatisfied. One big questions is whether the decline is due to a generally higher priced offering, poor customer service including a less than optimal performing website, or both.
, the Digital Media Licensing Association, has announced that Steve Spelman, incoming PACA President for the 2014 to 2016 term, has made the decision to resign from his position after leaving Corbis. Sarah Fix who has been serving as Vice President will take over the President's duties.
Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins Investor, recently released her 2014 Internet Trends report. Among her findings were that 1.8+ billion photos are uploaded and shared each day. This is up 50% from 1.2 billion in 2013. The biggest numbers are found on WhatsApp and Snapchat. Many uploaders also use Facebook, Instagram and Flickr.
Most agencies are constantly trying to add new images to their collections, but a huge percentage of the images they already have are never licensed. Photographers are constantly encouraged to produce more and better pictures. If they cut back on production sales often decline. Since there is no way to be sure what customers will want in the future, agencies hope that if they keep adding new images they will eventually stumble onto something a future customer will want to buy.
The CEPIC Congress
in Berlin will start in about a week. Many of the attendees will be focused on finding other agents to represent and market their collections. For the most part that means that smaller libraries will be trying to get their small collection included in the massive collection of larger distributor (LD). Maybe it should be the other way around.
, has launched an uplifting email marketing campaign designed to inspire creative professionals at the start of the working week. Subscribers will be treated to an email with a motivational, thought provoking message from specially selected experts in the creative industry every Monday, straight to their inbox.
More than that 500 participants from more than 250 agencies and 33 countries will attend the CEPIC Congress in Berlin from June 5th through June 7th 2014. If you are not planning to attend check out what you will be missing.
, a leading stock source for high quality stock images of real people with real disabilities, has agreed to represent selected imagery from Design Pics
. DisabilityImages serves a select group of customers with narrowly focused and specific needs. The company has developed a strong reputation in this niche, and has a thorough understanding of the needs of customers within this community.
The annual general meeting of the German Association of Professional Image Suppliers (BVPA
) has voted with a strong majority (only one dissenting vote) against supporting the CEPIC
projects CIF and RDI. The panel came to the conclusion that the expected benefits of the projects, as presented at the meeting, do not outweigh the expected expense and risks.
The European News Agency Alliance (EANA
) has joined the global coalition that supports a formal antitrust complaint against Google’s that has been filed with at the EU Commission. The complaint deals with the unlicensed use of third party pictures
and was filed by CEPIC
on 8 November 2013 on behalf of thousands of photographers and picture agencies.
TT News Agency, NTB, Scanpix Denmark and Scanpix Baltics have announced the formation of the Scandinavian Photo Alliance
. The core of the new alliance is the former Scanpix group. The SPA expects to work on pan-Scandinavian initiatives spanning both editorial and commercial areas.
and Danita Delimont Stock Photography
have recently joined the IMGembed
community. IMGembed went live in March 2013 and currently has millions of images in its collection. Previously, we have reported on Getty’s embedding strategy
and PressFoto’s ImageRent
. IMGembed offers another approach to the pay-per-view strategy for monetizing images.
I just returned from my first HOW Design Live conference, this year in Boston. HOW Design Live is billed as “the biggest annual gathering of creative professionals, anywhere.” This year over 3,300 professional buyers of photography from all over the U.S. and Canada made their way to Boston for the five-day event. The following are a few takeaways and insights I gained from the conference.
Did you know Amazon invented the process for photographing people against white backgrounds? The U.S. Patent and Trademark office recently awarded them a patent for this invention. If you’re trying to sell photos shot against a white background Amazon may want a piece of anything you earn!
Recently a subscriber asked, “how much newly produced professional content is licensed each year compared to content that is licensed more than a year after it was first made available for purchase?” Great question! As far as I know no agency collects such data, but it could be of tremendous value in helping agencies better understand what their customer's needs and in directing photographers as to what to shoot.
iStock has named May 14, 2014 “100% Royalty Day.” As part of it’s efforts to celebrate Small Business Week in the United States iStock will pay all exclusive contributors 100% of all revenue collected on May 14, 2014 through cash and credit card file downloads.
Time Warner will spin-off Time Inc. on May 23, 2014. Shareholders of record at 5:00 p.m. on that date will receive one share of Time Inc. common stock for every eight shares of Time Warner common stock. For more details about the new company check out the SEC's Preliminary Information Statement of Time, Inc.
has reported $72.8 million in revenue and total downloads of 29.7 million for Q1 2014. About 28% of the revenue was paid out to contributors in royalties. At the end of the quarter the company has 407 employees worldwide and over 55,000 active contributors.
In 2013 there were 145,713 ad pages in the magazines measured by the trade organization Publishers Information Bureau
. It is worth noting that in 2000 this organization reported 286,932 ad pages – almost double the 2013 numbers -- for the magazines it tracks.
A subscriber just pointed out that at the bottom of the search return page on www.gettyimages.com
they are now encouraging customers to go to iStock
. He did a search for travel and at the bottom of the first page after the customer has looked at only 100 thumbnails she is encouraged in big bold letters to:
During Time Warner’s Q1 2014 earnings call Howard Averill, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Time Warner said advertising revenue was down 7% and subscriptions were flat.
Microstock image contributors are removing images from Fotolia in a boycott of Fotolia’s Dollar Photo Club
(DPC) subscription service. So far more than 400,000 images have been removed from Fotolia since April 25, 2014.
According to Variety Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation recently told attendees at the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills that “Movies are not a growth business.” Within 17 days after a movie is released in theaters it will be available on TV and smartphones at much lower prices. This is bad news for theater owners.
British photographer Tessa Bunney has been chosen Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2014
in the international photography competition. She received an award of £5,000.00 (approximately $8,000.00). The first prize in the StockFood-sponsored category “Food off the Press” for the best recently-published food photograph went to Caroline Martin for her still life “Roasted Pigeons.”.
The Association of Commercial Stock Image Licensors (ACSIL
), a trade association serving the interests of the world’s leading archival footage and stock licensors, has announced its newly elected Co-Presidents: Max Segal and Clara Fon-Sing.
It’s No Longer About The Image. It’s About The Data That Can Be Mined Using Images. The value of images is declining. The value of data that can be mined by tracking image use is increasing.
A lot of people like to ridicule stock photography and hold it in contempt like “Truly Awful Stock Photography
” or “Unsalable Stock Photos
” or “20 Worst WTF Stock Photos
,” but we’re not sure what the organizers of The 61st Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
are trying to do.
Buyers looking for microstock images want to know which of the many available sources offers the best licensing models, terms and price. Now with the beta version of http://www.microstock.photos
customers can simultaneously check the offerings of 9 or the most popular microstock sites and see who offers the best deal. This search tool is free to use.
Image Makers Stock Photography, Art & Illustration
is looking for expressions of interest in purchasing the agency’s inventory which consists of 32,230 tightly-edited and extensively-keyworded digital images. Currently there are 172 individual artists, photographers & illustrators under contract.
, has launched ImageRent
, a new service that makes more than 3.5 million stock photos immediately available for commercial, editorial or personal use online at a minimal cost. The maximum file sizes available are 72dpi, 600x600px web size images.
The creative team of Getty Images has just released a 132 page online book that gives examples and discusses the kind of photography customers currently want. It’s called Creative InFocus
and provides a glimpse of the new ideas and flavors the Getty team expects imagery to grow into over the next year. It is well worth a read.
, the San Francisco-based technology company, founded in 2010 with the vision of turning editorial photos into storefronts for consumers has closed its doors.
Recently, I received a request from Clive Thompson, columnist with Wired Magazine
, asking about the number of stock photography images licensed annually. He was more interested in the increase/decrease of the number of images sold than in any impact it might have had on revenue. Here’s what I told him.
Getty photographers are getting some surprising insights into the use of their images on Pinterest as they review their Getty sales reports this month. For many photographers over half the reported sales are for “Pinterest/Portal” usage. The gross fee paid to Getty for such usages is $0.03 and the photographer’s royalty share is $0.01.
Stocktrek Images with specialized image collections in Healthcare and Biomedical Science, Armed Forces, Military Aviation, Space, Weather, Astronomy and Dinosaur Art has introduced a $35 price for web and mobile use of its images. The new web and mobile sizes of 600-800 pixels are ideal for use on web sites, online ads, digital magazines, periodicals, mobile applications, tablets, and other handheld devices.
Getty Images has launched its iStock subscription offering
in an attempt to compete with Shutterstock
. There are two levels of iStock subscriptions – iStock Essentials and iStock Signature. With iStock’s offering customers can download 250 images a month with the monthly plan or 750 images a month with the annual plan. With Shutterstock there is a daily limit of 25 images a day (750 a month) regardless of which plan you purchase.
The CEPIC Congress
scheduled to be held in Berlin on June 4 through 7, 2014 is less than 2 months away. Already nearly 350 stock photo agents and industry suppliers are signed up to attend. For a full conference program see here
The Permission Machine
(PM) is a startup in Belgium that is trying to educate social media users that they need permission to use the images they find on the web and provide them with a simple, easy way to license uses.
Getty Images has announced the call for entries for its Getty Images’ grants programs
for 2014. The grants will include – The Grants for Editorial Photography
, Creative Grants
and the Contour by Getty Images Portrait Prize
– as well as the Emerging Talent Award.
The deadline for entry and Applications is May 15, 2014 by 11:59 p.m. GMT (London Time). For more information see http://www.gettyimages.com/grants
Peter Krogh has written a disturbing report about how the value of imagery is about to be slashed once again. It’s called The Fire Hose concept. We have reprinted his report with his permission. Peter is also author of the DAM Book (digital asset management) and a group of publications on the use of Lightroom 5. For information about these publications see here
has released a plugin for WordPress that enables WordPress users to easily access and embed free and commercial content from Dreamtime’s 22.5 million image library.
ASMP has announced two webinars later this month that should be of value to stock photographers and stock photo agents. Both are free if you sign up and listen at the scheduled time. These webinars will also be recorded and made available within a week after the event through a web link. ASMP members will be able to listen to them for free. Non-members will be charged a fee of $4.99.
Some say the whole idea of setting up image registries
is a waste of time because everyone will continue to go to Google, Bing and Yahoo and grab anything they find believing it is their right.
Late in 2013 the Patents County Court (PCC) that handles copyright claims in the UK was renamed the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court
(IPEC) and a provision for submitting small claims was introduced. The small claims track is intended for claims with a value of up to £10,000 and where costs orders are tightly controlled.
Recently, on the “Stock Photography, buy and sell your images
” group on LinkedIn photographer Pierre Charrlau complained that his Getty Images sales have “greatly diminished” and wanted to know if others were having the same experience.
On its web site for Flickr contributors Getty asks, “What are the average prices for RM and RF?” and then gives the following answer. “The average licensing fee for royalty free ranges from $175 to $225. And for rights managed licensing, keeping in mind that uses and fees vary widely; the average is around $550-$650.”
has decided that in order to attract more customers to their microstock offering they need to lower prices for professional users. They have created a members-only Dollar Photo Club and are promoting it to readers of Graphic Design USA (GDUSA
In celebration of the one-year anniversary of Stocky United
, Brianna Wettlaufer has been appointed CEO of the company. Wettlaufer, who was co-founder and former VP at iStockphoto, (which was acquired by Getty images for $50 million in 2006) brings over 10 years of leadership and innovation to her role.
The United States Copyright Office of the Library of Congress has published a final rule establishing adjusted fees for copyright registration. The new fee structure will go into effect on May 1, 2014. The fee for an application filed online will increase from $35 to $55. The fee for an application filed on paper will increase from $65 to $85.
Be careful what you write in your blog. It’s not private. Over the weekend I received a request from a former mid-level employee of a stock agency who wanted me to delete from our Selling Stock archive a story that was published in 2009.
PACA’s mission has always been to support a healthy and sustainable market for licensing the use of photographic images, as well as to encourage and support innovative ways for photography to be legally used in the rapidly changing marketplace. Clearly, models for licensing of photography have had a difficult time keeping pace with changes brought on by the Internet, social media, and the blogosphere.
The informal corporate motto for Google is “Don’t be evil.” This motto is sometimes incorrectly stated as Do no evil. But the company’s image search tool facilitates
theft. The same is basically true of Bing and Yahoo.
After many years, the Ninth Circuit finally entered a decision in the Alaska Stock, LLC v. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company (HMH) case. In Anchorage U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland had originally tossed the federal lawsuit after finding that the photographs had been improperly registered with the Copyright Office.
A reader asked if anyone produces a list of the stock photography subjects that are in greatest demand. As far as I know such a list does not exist. In very general terms the subjects in greatest demand are model released people in business and family situations, but to be useful it is necessary to get much more specific.
StockFood has released a new collection of food images that points to a new trend in food photography, and to a certain extent in stock photography as a whole. They call their collection “Perfectly Imperfect
” which describes the spirit of spontaneity that is increasingly in demand in every type of photography.
In all the excitement about 35 million FREE images it is worth looking back at some of things that have been happening at Getty Images in the last three months. After watching revenue decline for the fifth straight quarter, and many of its top producers cut back on production or stop supplying new images altogether, Getty evidently decided that their turn-around strategy wasn’t working and they needed to make some radical changes.
Carlyle Group should be trying to sell Getty’s Midstock division (iStock, Thinkstock and Photos.com) to Shutterstock before the value of that segment of Getty’s business collapses. Carlyle should recognize by now that Getty Images has been a bad investment. It is the time to cut losses.
The German microstock agency PantherMedia (http://www.panthermedia.net
), a German microstock agency with 28 million images in its collection, has relaunched its new website with the most comprehensive update in 10 years. Besides the clear new design, the website offers new products, new licences and additional features.
Photographers, illustrators, Getty’s Image Partners (stock agencies), and trade associations representing Getty photographers should be asking Getty to supply creators with a limited amount of the data collected when Getty embeds creator's images on a web site for FREE
has announced to its Flickr contributors that it has provided notice to terminate its existing agreement with Flickr
. The original 5-year agreement went into effect in July 2008. Getty has been unable to come to a new agreement at this time. Getty says they continue to be open to working with Yahoo!/Flickr.
Most photographers believe stock photo prices are declining everywhere. But not at Shutterstock
where they have seen a 27% increase in 3 years from $1.91 per download in Q4 2010 to $2.43 in Q4 2013. RM and traditional RF photographers are thinking, “This is not a story for me. I’ll never go near any distributor with prices that low.” Please don’t give up. Let me walk you through some numbers that you may find useful and interesting.
See the previous story
. It looks like a high percentage of the RM and RF images in the Creative Stock Images of the www.gettyimages.com cannot be accessed
using the Embed Tool
. This may not be the slam dunk Getty is hoping for.
has made it possible for anyone to easily embed and share its imagery – at no cost – for non-commercial use on websites, blogs and social media channels through a new embed tool
. Free Pictures For Anyone Who Blogs.
has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WebDAM
, a leading provider of web-based digital asset management software.
has announced that it will award a prize of $5,000 USD for the best selling image in 2014 that was uploaded to its new Instant Collection for iPhones. In addition, every image accepted in the Instant Collection before the end of April, will instantly earn $1. Now everyone has a chance to sell smartphone images, regardless of technical ability or expensive equipment. Contest details here: http://us.fotolia.com/instantcontest
has announced that in April it will launch a subscription product based on the Thinkstock
subscription product. The low priced Thinkstock product has been the fastest growing part Getty Images’ business.
If you couldn’t make it to the Microstock Expo (MExpo) in Berlin last November now from the comfort of your home or office you can see and hear all the discussions
that took place during the two-day conference. Of course, this material will be particular interest to microstock shooters and distributors, but even if you are licensing your work at RM or traditional RF prices you will find that many of the discussions provide important insights into where the stock photo industry is headed.
Over 9,000 iStock
photographers have received notices that they were overpaid for sales made through the Partner Program (PP). Getty plans to reclaim the overpayments by deducting the amount from the future royalty payments owed the contributors over the next six months. It is unclear exactly how much the total overpayment was, but based on what some photographers are being told will be deducted from their accounts it could have been millions of dollars.
Earlier this week I wrote about the average price per image licensed at Getty
. This article will examine some of the publicly available and widely reported numbers related to the number of images licensed.
On March 10, 1014 Getty Images plans to close down Photos.com
and move virtually all the content and operations to Thinkstock
. Thinkstock currently offers more than 14 million images. Added to Photo.com’s 5.5 million image that will put Thinkstock in the 20 million image range.
Recently, I had the opportunity to examine the 2013 sales of a few of Getty Images’ major contributors. They licensed images as both RM and RF. While these contributors represent a very small sample of all the people represented by Getty, I believe their experience is reasonably representative of what is happening in the entire collection. Their figures may provide some useful insights.
has reported a record 28 million downloads and $68 million in revenue for Q4 2013. The company’s revenue for all of 2013 was $235.5 million, up from $169.6 in 2012. About 28% of the revenue was paid out to contributors in royalties.
has jumped into the mobile photography business with Stockimo
, a new iPhone app that lets photographers upload pictures taken from their iPhone. Stockimo is open to anyone. Alamy contributors who were with the company before the Stockimo launch will receive a 50% royalty. Contributors who are new to Alamy and just submitting iPhone photos will receive a 20% royalty.
Over the weekend I reported that there were 71 live briefs
worth a combined total of over $150,000. Allyson Scott
, who has been responding to briefs and submitting images for more than six months, points out that actually making a sale is not as easy as I might have made it sound. Here’s what she had to say.
Getty Images’ photojournalists Brent Stirton, Sara Lewkowicz, Chris McGrath, Ezra Shaw, Al Bello and Quinn Rooney have been awarded top honors at World Press Photo
, the world’s largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest.
Currrently there are 71 image requests worth a combined total of over $150,000 on ImageBrief
. Clients looking for photos include: BBH (UK), Conde Nast, Huge Inc, Weiden+Kennedy, Story Worldwide, Expedia Inc, Grey Advertising, Penguin Books, Random House, Hearst, TriBeCa Film Festival, Proximity, Visa, McGarry Bowen, Harper Collins, Young & Rubicam.
Recently PACA published a letter from Past President Robert Henson about how Microsoft “has taken the bold step of promoting the theft of images online. Through its newly revamped Office
product.” Through its “Office Help” function Microsoft advised users looking for images to “Use Bing to get images.” Bing made finding images easy and implied that anything found was free to use.
In January Pearson provided a regular trading update and on February 28, 2014 it will announce preliminary results for 2013. While overall the company expects an operating profit of approximately £865m they had “lower underlying margins in North American Higher Education, particularly in the important fourth quarter.”
If you’re not happy about the copyright protection you are afforded, now may be the time for photographers and stock agencies to speak up. The European Commission and the U.S. Copyright Office are asking for your input.
Copyright registration of still images and illustrations as it is currently conducted in the U.S. is a waste of government time and money. Congress should encourage the development of a privately funded, non-profit facility where those who want to use images they find on the Internet or in print can easily determine if the image needs to be licensed for use. Here's a suggestion as to what it should look like and how it should function.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and author of Lean In, has worked with Getty Images to try to identify 2,500 images that portray woman in more empowering ways than many of the stock images of old-fashioned stereotypes found in today’s advertisements and media. Photographers may want to review the "leanincollection" for shoot ideas.
International Business Times
reports that in January alone Getty filed five lawsuits for the unauthorized use of single images. While Getty has been aggressively pursuing infringers with “settlement demand letters” for some time, lawsuits are unusual because the monies involved usually don’t justify the expense of going to court.
I’m getting tired of the overuse of the term “Professional” as it relates to photographers. Webster’s defines a professional as “a person who earns a living in an occupation frequently engaged in by amateurs, or a person who is expert in his or her work.” Many stock photographers want to call themselves “professionals” after they have sold their first image.
Google and European Union antitrust regulators have reached a settlement in the competition investigation that has been going on since 2010. Under the agreement, subject to a final approval by the EU, Google will pay no fine and there will be no finding of wrongdoing. No change likely in the way Google Images conducts image search.
A couple weeks ago I proposed an adjustment to current agency pricing strategies that offers the potential to get higher prices for the images in greatest demand and still make large quantities of excellent images available to customers who can’t afford the best. (See “Solving The Problem Of Too Many Images
”) Some subscribers thought I should also factor in production costs. Here's my response.
The biggest challenge for a photographer hoping to license rights to stock images is how to get the images seen by potential buyers. It would seem that the first step might be to get the images accepted by a good agency. But given the number of images on all subject matter in most agency collections that doesn’t necessarily mean customers will ever see them.
More and more stock agencies that license RM and Traditional RF rights are becoming aggregators of images rather than direct sellers of images. This is not a new phenomenon, but as more and more customers tend to go to a few large databases to find the images they need it is having a major impact on the income of many photographers.
, one of the leading international photo libraries representing 5,500 contributors worldwide and representing over 15 million images, today announced that it had completed the purchase of The Data Archive/Construction Photography
, a digital asset management software developer and a specialist photography and licensing company.
has announced to its contributors that as part of its initiative to streamline and simplify its collections structure and improve customer experience it will be retiring Jupiterimages.com and Punchstock.com over the course of February and March.
contacted 10 microstock agencies to determine what they believe will be visual trends in 2014. The agencies contacted were: Stocksy, PeopleImages, Fotolia, PantherMedia, Photocase, IngImage, Pixta, Photospin, YayImages, Dreamstime. Stockphotosecrets then compiled a list of 50 trends
with photo examples of each. The list is well worth reviewing as you plan your photo shoots for 2014. Review the list here
It is getting harder and harder to decide which stock photography licensing model to use if a photographer’s goal is to maximize earnings. For a long time it was generally assumed that the way to maximize revenue was to license your images based on usage (Rights Managed). In this way the seller could charge a lot of money – sometimes many thousands of dollars -- when a customer wants to make extensive use of an image. The fatal flaw in the RM licensing strategy is that when every sale is negotiated, there is a tendency to accept whatever a customer is willing to pay. See some comparative statistics about all the licensing models.
Vital Imagery Ltd.
, a leader in the online graphics subscription services, announced today that it has acquired Clipart.com and AnimationFactory.com from Getty Images
. These pioneering websites offer royalty-free clipart, 3D images and animations, photos, photo objects, Microsoft PowerPoint templates, fonts, as well as video backgrounds, e-mail and web page backgrounds for use in commercial and personal projects.
Yesterday, I wrote about the problem of the growing size of image databases
and how this is making it difficult for customers to easily find the right image for their projects. Many good images are never seen by anyone because they get buried in the search returns delivered.
Recently on the Linkedin Stock Photography blog
Valerie Henschel asked, “When do you cull older non-selling images from your archive?” It is certainly something to think about. If customers are forced to go through a lot of outdated, mediocre or totally irrelevant images in order to find something that really fits their needs – and hopefully the best of that subject matter available in the collection – they are likely to give up and go elsewhere. As the choices of almost any photographic subject expand exponentially, this is becoming a bigger and bigger problem for buyers.
Shutterstock has published an infographic that outlines some Global Design Trends 2014
based on its more than 350 million all-time downloads and over 100 million of them in 2013.
Do companies need an inexpensive catalogue of company-specific images showing their products and services being used by consumers? FlashStock, Inc.
thinks they do. Do the companies still need such images if that are all shot by part-time, amateur photographers using cellphones?
Alamy has announced that it will add vector graphics to offering as part of its strategy to provide a full service to image buyers. The company is launching with a collection of 500,000 vectors from leading suppliers including YAY media AS, Matthew Britton and Pavel Konovalov.
If you want to see beautiful pictures and know what’s happening visually in the world at large there is no better place to go than the Time Lightbox
. Each Friday the Time editors put together a 40 to 60 image slideshow of the best pictures that have come across their desks in the past week that were shot by news photographers around the world.
If there is something related to photography or illustration that you want to learn more about, chances are that Shutterstock’s Skillfeed (www.skillfeed.com
) has a video tutorial on the subject. Some of the tutorials are designed for beginners while others are aimed at people with more advanced experience. When searching a subject you can sort the tutorials by your skill level.
Google has just made it much easier for searchers to find images they can legally use for FREE – even for commercial uses. Bing introduced this feature last July. Go to Google. Use the images search feature and search for any subject. Click on “Search Tools” and under that click on “Usage Rights.” The default search is “not filtered by license,” but the searcher can change that to any one of the following:
n it’s latest trend briefing
, the Image Source blog, IMSO, delivers an analysis of popular stories covered during 2013 – from the Cult of Maersk on the rise of Industrial imagery to features on Richard Avedon’s work in Jeans Advertising – the research reveals five developing trends in photography: Mythography; Post-Cowboy Capitalism; Neo Geo Plus; Tonka Tech; and The Double Take.
I was recently asked to name the 5 biggest companies in the stock photo industry and the percentage of total industry turnover they represent. The surprising thing is how the names of the top 5 have changed in the last few years and the implications for the long term future of the industry.
Last summer Selling Stock published stories here
about efforts in the UK to revise the copyright rules and devise a path for those who want to use “orphan works” to do so legally. Orphan works are any copyrighted material where the copyright holder cannot be identified or located. The process moves forward.
Recently Shutterstock published a Trend Report that showed the 12 most popular images downloaded by creatives in the last week. While this is a very small sample it may provide useful insights for photographers to consider. Only 4 of the 12 images in greatest demand were photos and two of the 4 were backgrounds. The other 8 images were Vector illustrations.
Recently, a photographer who has been regularly producing images for RM licensing for a lot of years asked, “Is there any future in stock photography?” He is with a leading agency, made very good money in the 1990s and sales were pretty good in the early 2000s. Then came 2008-2009 and sales dropped off the cliff. Now he is questioning whether it is worthwhile to continue to produce. He also said, “I have ever bought into the Royalty Free idea.”
A subscriber asked recently, “What is the best way to find out all the legal compliance issues associated with selling stock images of individuals and/or groups?” The issue is very simple. If the image is used for any type of commercial use you need a release. If it is being used for editorial use to illustrate a magazine or newspaper story of something that actually happened, and was taken in a public place, then a release is usually not required. However, it can get a little fuzzy if a picture of someone is used to “illustrate” an editorial story that has nothing to do with the subject of the photograph’s lifestyle.
For the past two years I have been tracking semi-annually the total downloads and images in the collection of 420 of iStock’s top earning contributors. As of the end of 2013 these contributors had a total of at least 50,777,000 total career downloads and 1,794,494 images in the iStock collection. Two-hundred-three of these contributors (48%) have uploaded fewer than 100
new images to their collections in the last two years.
Based on the downloads of 420 of iStock’s most productive contributors who have a combined total of at least 50,777,000 downloads the number of downloads in 2013 were down about 12%
compared to 2012. This group of contributors have approximately one-third* of all iStock downloads since the company’s founding,
Total global ad spend in 2013 was between $489.6 billion (Magna Global
) and $503 billion (ZenithOptimedia
). This is up between 3.2% and 3.5% compared to 2012. According to eMarketer
the U.S. portion for 2013 is about $171.33 billion or 34% of the world media market.
After reading my story on Lightrocket
and the comments, Yvan Cohen, co-founder of Lightrocket provided some feedback and clarification.
Patents are granted for original ideas. Unilock has a U.S. patent
that describes in broad terms a system for licensing the use of images online. The company is claiming that stock agencies are infringing their patent when they license image use through online sites.
I get a lot of questions about the size of the video clip market and its potential for growth. There is very little hard data publicly available. Back in 2011 The Association of Commercial Stock Image Licensors (ACSIL) conducted a global survey to determine the size of the stock footage market
. They concluded that the total stock video revenue generated in 2010 was about $394 million. ACSIL believes the revenue generated in 2013 will be about the same.
Recently, a German subscriber asked, “Who will be the winner, Microstock or Macrostock?
” To answer that question we must define winning. Is licensing the most pictures winning? Is the distributor with the most revenue the winner? Is making it possible for more photographers to earn some money from the pictures they take winning? Is it winning to make it possible for more photographers to earn a living producing and licensing rights to stock pictures? Is it providing customers with better service?
There is a growing demand for narrowly focused image collections that provide high quality, tightly edited and in depth coverage of their particular niche. DisabilityImages
is a good example of one such collection.
Over time royalty rates have declined. Usage fees have dropped dramatically in the last few years. And the huge oversupply of images is making it less likely that any images will ever be licensed. Faced with these facts many photographers have pulled back on new production of stock images, if not dropped out of the stock photo business entirely. Now, Lightrocket
offers a marketing option that may make some of those businesses sustainable.
Many microstock image producers keep a very low profile. Recently we came upon a list www.microstocktime.ru/tools/
of the top 100 individuals and companies with the largest portfolios on Shutterstock
. We tried to learn a little more about Africa Studio, the number one contributor.
Visual Connections has announced that Visual Connections Chicago
(), the leading forum to meet and learn from image/footage buyers, will be moving to a new venue in 2014. Bookings for the Thursday, April 24, 2014 event will open on Wednesday, December 18 at 10am ET.
Zap Email Service enables creative professionals to instantly send their footage requests to over 50 top footage houses via a single email. Footage companies participating on the service receive a daily stream of new footage requests.
has announced that as of January 1st 2014, they are dropping the placement fee for RM Photographer’s Choice. This means that there are no longer any fees associated with Photographer’s Choice RM and RF!
Photographers all over the world are making sales through ImageBrief
. While it can be a lot of work responding to briefs the photographers we talked to seem generally happy with the results. ImageBrief reported that in October and November they negotiated sales for 168 photographers operating in 30 different countries. (See list below)
stock footage collection now exceeds 2 million clips. In addition the Redcode RAW (R3D) -- the native format for the popular RED series of ultra-HD cameras -- is now supported on the platform (http://www.pond5.com/r3d
has announced that it has become the world's first stock photo website built around responsive web design principals. This step has made Stocksy the only stock photo site that can provide the same optimized research and buying experience across any smartphone, tablet or desktop device.
Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has reported that Fotolia’s
revenues for the fiscal year ending December 2012 totaled $87 million
. Moody’s expects revenues to increase in the “low to mid-single digit percentage range over the next 12 months.”
In November I surveyed image creators who had signed up to attend the Microstock Expo in Berlin and asked them two question:
(1) What are your top four distributors and the percentage of revenue from each?
(2) Is your gross revenue greater in 2013 than it was in 2012?
It’s time to take another look at PeopleImages.com
that Yuri Arcurs Productions launched 17 months ago. Yuri has long been the world’s most successful microstock photographer, and until June 2013 his work was represented on virtually all the world’s microstock distributors.
The 2014 “Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year”
competition with a top prize of £5,000 has been announced. Professional and amateur photographers can submit their food images until January 31, 2014. The winner will be selected in London and announced on April 23, 2014 in a festive ceremony at the London’s “Mall Galleries.“
Getty Images has supplied selected investors with its third quarter revenue figures. Indications are that revenue continues to decline. For the year ending June 30, 2013 revenue was $897 million. For the 4 quarters ending September 30, 2013 indications are that the revenue is less than the $897 million, but we have been unable to determine exactly how much it has declined.
As of December 1, 2013 Universal Images Group Limited
(UIG) has opened a new Content Management facility for Asia based in Tokyo, Japan.
Last week a coalition of 37 news organizations, including the Associated Press, ABC News, The Washington Post and Reuters called for better access to the president and the White House
in a letter
addressed to White House press secretary Jay Carney.
The number of news photographers employed in the U.S has dropped 43% since 2000 from 6,171 to 3,493 according to the ASNE (American Society of News Editors). By comparison, the number of full-time newspaper reporters and writers dropped by 32%—from 25,593 to 17,422.
A jury has awarded photographer Daniel Morel $1.2 million in damages in his case against Agence France-Presse
(AFP) and Getty Images
for the unauthorized distribution of his images of the January 12, 2010 Haiti earthquake. At the time Morel received no payment from the agencies for almost 1,000 uses of his images.
The formula for producing stock images that sell is simple. Produce what customers want. All they want are images of “better quality” that are “more creative,” “natural, not staged” and that clearly illustrate a “concept” the customer needs at the moment. Also, the “price” for usage must be lower than anything else available.
has released a series of eight research reports entitled “Trends In Sight”
that explain and illustrate with Corbis images What’s New and What’s Next in photography.
Judge Denny Chin in Southern District of New York has ruled that Google Books provides a public benefit
and is a fair use
of copyrighted material. He ruled that the Google Books project doesn’t violate copyright law and dismissed the eight-year-old lawsuit against Google.
Design Pics Inc
. has announced the acquisition of AgStock Images, a California based photo agency specializing in agricultural photography. Founded in 1996 by Ed Young, AgstockImages.com
is a comprehensive library of worldwide agricultural photography, representing over 115 leading agriculture, produce, livestock, entomology, botany and plant pathology photographers, including photographers who are also professors and researchers across the United States, Canada, Europe and South America.
This story contains a list of the 99 Shutterstock contributors with the largest portfolios. All have more than 17,000 images on Shutterstock and the leading contributor, Africa Studio, has 346,683. Combined these 99 contributors have 4,433,257 or almost 14% of all the images on Shutterstock.There is a hot link to each contributor’s collection.
As happens every fall there is a whirlwind of photo conferences – PACA Annual Conference, Visual Connection and PhotoPlusExpo (all in New York), and this year Microstock Expo in Berlin. In light of everything I’ve seen and heard between October 20 and November 17, 2013 I’ve provided a few observations as to where I think the stock photo industry is headed.
, the world’s largest software maker and itself a massive consumer of image content for its products and services, has taken the bold step of promoting the theft of images online. Through its newly revamped Office product, Microsoft is replacing an image search functionality – one that routed the user to vetted sources for searching, transacting and integrating content into their online projects – with a general Bing
search. While Microsoft is certainly free to remove one piece of Office functionality and push users onto the Bing platform, the methods of how it is doing so underscores a blatant disregard of intellectual property.
Hundreds of thousands of images in major stock distributor collections are never viewed by any customer. If customers can’t see them they certainly can’t buy them. Tens of thousands of images are being added to stock photo databases every day. A very high percentage of them will quickly fall into an abyss never to be seen again. Is there a solution to this problem?
On behalf of thousands of photographers and picture agencies CEPIC, the Center of the Picture Industry has submitted a formal antitrust complaint against Google’s use of third-party images before the European Commission. The complaint was submitted on 8 November 2013 and supported by an unprecedented coalition of European and US trade associations representing thousands of photographers and picture agencies worldwide.
Attorney Edward Greenberg
reports that Andrew Paul Leonard
, a professional photographer who specializes in creating images of microscopic subject matter using a scanning electron microscope (“SEM”) has been awarded $1.6 million in his copyright infringement lawsuit against Stemtech Health Service.
Does exclusive representation make sense in today’s stock photography world, or is it better to place your images with multiple distributors? Here are a few things to consider.
Buyers often ask, “Why do stock images cost so much?” Photographers and agents tend to respond, “Because some images cost more than others to produce.” But the buyer will invariably point out that some very simple images shot on a white background are often priced higher than other more complicated and complex images that obviously cost more to produce.
has reported a record 25.4 million downloads and $56.8 million in revenue in Q3 2013. The Shutterstock collection has grown to more than 30 million still images and over 1.3 million video clips. Revenue per download grew 4% year-over-year to $2.35. The growth in revenue per download was driven primarily by a growing portion of revenue that is derived from video footage downloads.
Educational publishers are telling stock agencies and image creators that they need more and “better quality” still images. Despite declining prices many still photographers are continuing to try to improve on the images of educational subjects already in stock agencies. This may be a losing strategy for photographers.
In business it often helps to try to walk in your customer’s shoes. The following is a situation that developed when a busy designer was trying to give his customer a quality product on a tight deadline (aren’t all deadlines tight these days), and keep the cost of the project reasonable and within the customer’s budget.
Alamy has decided to lower the payout threshold for contributors and make payments whenever a contributor has $75 on account. No fees will be charged at the Alamy end regardless of the method or currency the contributor chooses.
One of the surprising things that came out of this year’s Visual Connections
event in New York was the degree of confusion and misunderstandings graphic designers and art directors have about image rights. Many seem unsure as to what they can and cannot do with the images they license.
On his Thoughts of a Bohemian blog
Paul Melcher points out that content is no longer king. Given the rise of amateur photography and the “corpocrates” that regularly license RM imagery for a few dollars, pros are content kings without kingdoms.
The stock visual media industry is seeing a pick-up after the longest downturn in living memory. Visual Connections New York, the world’s largest marketing event devoted to commercial licensing of visual media, drew more buyers and exhibitors this year than in 2012. Buyers could learn about 72 different stock agency brands from around the world, including 21 new to New York and 22 from outside the US (Canada, UK, Germany, Sweden and Argentina).
Stock photography is changing rapidly. The most serious issues facing stock photographers are:
they have no idea who their potential customers are;
they don’t know what their customers are looking for in the way of images; and
they don’t understand how their customer’s businesses are changing.
has done a deal with Pinterest
that will track the use of any of the 80 million photos and illustrations on Gettyimages.com whenever they are posted on the digital scrapbooking site. (A little over 7 million of those photos are on the Creative section of the site.)
has introduced two new products: Stipple Mobile and Stipple Search. With Stipple Mobil you can create Stippled photos right from your phone. Easily add videos from your camera and YouTube; Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia profiles; and more to your photos. Photographers can instantly share everything on Facebook and Twitter.
, the commercial arm of the BBC, has agreed a global five-year partnership with Getty Images
, in which Getty Images will represent BBC Motion Gallery, BBC Worldwide’s prestigious video clip sales business. The agreement will see the world-renowned BBC Motion Gallery brand continue, with Getty Images as the exclusive global distributor.
PhotoShelter has just released the results of a new survey designed to determine “What Buyers Want From Photographers.” The 48 page report is available for Free here
Getty Images has been privately owned by Carlyle Group for a little over a year
, and before that by Hellman & Friedman for about 5 years. One of the results of going private is that much of the data that used to be shared about Getty’s operations is no longer available to the general public.
If you’re looking for an overview of the state of the stock photo industry as of October 2013 the stories listed below are a good place to start. Regular readers of Selling-Stock will have seen all this information before. For them, there is nothing new here although some of the stories were published in the last two weeks. If you’re looking for data and analysis – both current and historical – these stories are worth examining.
On September 31, 2013, the Copyright Office released the findings
of its two-year study on copyright small claims. The report documents the significant costs and other challenges in the current federal system of addressing copyright claims that have a relatively low economic value. The report recommends the establishment of a Copyright Tribunal housed within the Copyright Office to adjudicate claims.
Does anyone other than photographers think that photographers should be compensated with more than a credit for the use of their images? The response photographer Kristen Pierson received from the publisher of the Warwick, RI Beacon displays a common attitude, not just of the average consumer, but of many professionals and commercial users who should be licensing rights to the images they use.
, a stock photography co-op that launched on March 28, 2013, is on track to become profitable by November. A photo collective and online market co-owned by more than 400 photographers, Stocksy has accomplished this feat while giving members a 50 percent royalty on each transaction and 90 percent of profits.
Patrick Lor, co-founder of iStockphoto and formerly leader of Fotolia North America, has founded a stock footage company called Dissolve
. Lor’s company makes a significant number of clips available for $5 although some clips are priced at $50, $150 and $500.
There is increasing interest among debt investors as to what is happening at Getty and particularly in their Midstock division. I posted an analysis
last week, but already there is new information worth updating.
Graphic Design USA’s 27th annual Stock Visual Reader Survey
has revealed that 95% of creatives in the U.S. use stock visuals to some extent in their work. In 1986 only 34% of creatives used stock, but there has been a steady year-to-year rise in its use reaching 95% in 2010.
The latest edition of Alamy’s “Ask James” series of video chats where CEO James West responds to photographer questions is now live. West reports that the company licensed rights to about 360,000 images in 2012, up from under 200,000 in 2008.
In response to the new trends in Smartphone use, social media and mobile phone Fotolia is launching a new app and collection, uniquely designed for Smartphone photos. Created for iPhone 4 and up, Fotolia Instant
offers fresh, new “in-the-moment” images taken using the new app, which allows users to shoot and upload to Fotolia directly from their Smartphone.
Getty Images is finally declaring iStock a “Midstock” brand given how high they have pushed the prices of iStock’s exclusive imagery. I estimate that about 35% of the images on iStock are exclusive. Getty has told debt investors that 70% of iStock revenue is generated from exclusive images and that the gross revenue for the last 4 quarters was about $300 million. In Q2 2013 iStock revenue was down 9% compared to the revenue in Q2 2012.
Getty Images’ visual trends publication Curve
released their most comprehensive assessment of diversity in advertising to date. The Curve is designed to highlight the latest trends and research into the changing use of visual imagery that depicts social variety. It is also a resource for brands that are looking to create exclusive and progressive communications.