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In the subscription environment customers pay for -- and the image creators receive a royalty for -- many images that are never used in any type of deliverable product. Nobody knows how many. Adobe Stock has changed all that. Now Adobe gives users free use
to any images considered during the users design and creative processes. Users only pay for the images that actually end up in a deliverable product. As a result, creators may begin to see a significant decline in the number of images licensed.
If you’re a videographer and have been discouraged by low prices and low royalties for your work it’s time to check out Videoblocks
. In April at the National Association of Broadcasters conference the company added a new feature when they launched the Marketplace section of their site. Customers must have an annual subscription in order to access Marketplace. When they choose any of the Marketplace clips they pay an additional $49 if it is HD or $199 for 4K.
Responding to an increasing demand for reliable insights on the stock photography market three top stock photography industry experts, Lee Torrens, Paul Melcher and Amos Struck, have officially launched Stock Photo Insight
, a consulting service providing calls with all three experts simultaneously.
If you’re trying to decide whether to get into video, or what to shoot, you may want to take a look at the Corbis Motion Trends Study
. This information should be of great value to anyone producing stock video regardless of whether they license their work through Corbis, or not.
The Associated Press
and British Movietone, one of the world's most comprehensive newsreel archives, are together bringing more than 1 million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube
. Showcasing the moments, people and events that have shaped the world, it will be the largest upload of historical news content on the video-sharing platform to date.
What’s the difference between User Generated Content (UGC) and stock photography?
When people talk about UGC they are usually referring to pictures that can be found on the web (mostly on social media sites) that “someone else” may want to use. If that someone else wants to use the image (and doesn’t want to steal it) then technically it becomes a stock photograph.
The interests of the multi-billion dollar social media sites and photographers may finally be coming together thanks to DMCA and imagewiki
. The safe harbor provision of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) says, “Online Service Providers (OSPs) cannot receive any financial benefit directly attributable to infringing activity.
” Thus OSPs cannot place ads on user generated content unless they can identify the image’s owner and use policy.
ASMP has responded to the April 24, 2015 U.S. Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry
, which set out to review “how certain visual works, particularly photographs, graphic artworks, and illustrations are monetized, enforced and registered under the Copyright Act.”
Subscription licensing is in for some dramatic changes. We know that a significant number of the images subscription customers download are used in the designer’s “creative process,” but never find their way into a deliverable end product. Traditionally, creators of all the images downloaded – whether used in a deliverable product or not – have received an equal royalty share of the revenue paid for the subscriptions.
has hired Scott Braut, formerly VP of Content at Shutterstock. He has been named Head of Content and will drive the company’s overall content strategy and operations for Creative Cloud
. Adobe says content is a strategic area of growth and focus as it builds a growing, strategic creative marketplace. Scott has over 20 years of experience in content licensing, product development, eCommerce, and digital media.
Shutterstock has released a new infographic
on Design and Emotion in Stock Photography.
Hong Kong based Super Image Market
launched in November 2014 has established a simple “Pathway” for making images available to customers rather that operating as a traditional agency or distributor. Contributors establish the license fee for each of their images on an image-by-images basis. SIM pays them 80% of every sale. (During the initial launch period until the beginning of 2016 contributors will receive 100% of every sale.)
has raised $13 million in a Series B round of funding. This round was led by Visual China Group
led this round with an $8 million investment. The other $5 million came from existing Series A backers that include Andreessen Horowitz, Harrison Metal, and ff Venture Capital.
will be adding a stock search aspect called MyMarketplace in the near future. Right now they are reaching out to their premium photographers to collect images for this service. It is unclear when the actual service will be available for buyers to search, but it will add stock search to the briefing and finding a photographer they can hire directly features they already enjoy.
(SSTK) was under heavy pressure Tuesday (-7.2%) after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on the stock with an Underweight rating and a price target of $40. The company traded down 6.49% on Tuesday, hitting $52.33. About 6% (2,134,222 shares) of the company’s stock traded hands. Morgan Stanley analyst Dean Prissman said based on their proprietary AlphaWise study and bottom-up analysis, they believe Adobe's aggressive entry into Shutterstock's market is set to pressure growth.
The deadline for responses to the Copyright Office’s April 24 Notice of Inquiry
is rapidly approaching. ASMP needs more information from photographers about the problems they have encountered in protecting their copyright.
Visual China Group (VCG), the Getty Images representative in China, has resumed trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Composite market in China. The stock closed at 27.52 RMB ($4.40) per share up from 25.02 RMB ($4.00) last week when trading was suspended.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from investors trying to assess the stock photo industry growth potential and figure out where Shutterstock, Adobe and Getty Images are headed. In general here is what I’ve been telling them.
An increasing number of iStock’s most productive contributors seem to be pulling back on their production of new images. Of the 430 photographers and illustrators we have been tracking for more than four years only 34% have added more than 100 images to their collections in the last six months. That leaves two-thirds of this group of contributors who have added fewer than 100 images or removed images from the collection.
Since 2009 I have been tracking the image downloads of some of iStock’s leading contributors. Beginning in 2012 I increased the number of individuals tracked on a semi-annual basis to 430. While 430 is only a small percentage of iStock’s total contributors which number more than 100,000 combined this small group has at least 55,479,000 downloads and given the way iStock reports these numbers possibly as many as 58,416,000 downloads. I believe these numbers represent about one-third of all iStock downloads since the company’s founding in 2002.
Downloads for 430 of iStock’s leading contributors have continued their steady decline in the first half of 2015. Getty had hoped that the launch of iStock subscriptions
in April 2014 and the launch in September 2014 of a single price for images
, regardless of the file size needed, would turn iStock’s fortunes around and bring customers back from its competitors. Neither strategy seems to have worked.
, has altered its subscription plans to feature a monthly instead of daily quota of downloadable images, and is allowing the carrying over of unused downloads. The company says, “users will now effectively never ‘lose’ image downloads as unused downloads will roll over into the monthly quota amount, making Dreamstime the most convenient and flexible solution in the industry today.”
(https://picsbuffet.com/#) offers a new method of image search that allows users to easily, visually explore huge sets of images. The images are laid side by side in a “map style” format with similar images close to each other.
, a marketplace for digital services, and Getty Images, have unveiled a partnership that puts premium creative services in the hands of small and medium businesses (SMBs), empowering them to produce creative once only thought possible for large enterprises. Fiverr sellers, which include graphic and web designers, can tap into an unrivaled trove of the world's best images from Getty Images
to produce eye-catching ads, social content, fan pages, apps and just about any other creative design imaginable.
At its annual General Meeting (AGM), held this year in Paris member owned Magnum Photos
nominated six new members: a record breaking number. They include: Matt Black
, Carolyn Drake
, Lorenzo Meloni
, Richard Mosse
, Max Pinckers
and Newsha Tavakolina
(ASX: NWZ) is pleased to announce that it has entered a strategic partnership and content syndication agreement (Agreement) with Alamy
. Newzulu’s crowd-sourced news archive will be featured among Alamy’s collection of over 50 million images from which the platform has generated over US$154 million for its contributors in the last 15 years. Newzulu and Alamy will work together to generate revenue through the sale and licensing of Newzulu’s crowd-sourced content to Alamy’s editorial, creative and commercial clients worldwide.
Getty Images has been granted “interested party” status in the European Commission’s investigation into anticompetitive behavior by Google. Getty Images provides specialized image search and shopping services to end users in direct competition with Google.
Several of my readers have differing opinions with regard to the meaning of the term “no exchange of equity” as it appeared in Masterfile’s May press release
. I thought it meant that no money changed hands. I asked Steve Pigeon, CEO of Masterfile, for clarification.
has re-launched its free Pond5 plugin for Adobe® Premiere® Pro CC which gives editors instant access to nearly 5 million royalty-free video and audio clips.
. and Penske Media Corporation
(PMC) have agreed to form an alliance that will create and license entertainment and fashion images and videos to the world’s top media, publishing and creative companies. (Check out PMC brands
Tired of giving up 70% to 80% (and often more) of what a customer pays to use your image to a distributor? Consider Picfair
. Unhappy with the prices distributors are charging for your images and want more? Consider PicFair
Suppose there was a smartphone app that automatically sent every image capture to the cloud and stored all the metadata including date, time and exact location down to within 100 feet or less of where the picture was taken. (Also imagine if camera manufacturers built that into cameras.) It's coming!
Thanks to Adobe Stock
gross microstock revenue will start to decline. Let me explain why. I estimate that about $143 million of Shutterstock’s 2014 revenue
came from subscription and that there were about 114 million subscription downloads. It all those customers were to switch to Adobe Stock they could probably get all the images they need for $43 million or less and save $100 million annually
. Check out the numbers.
Matt Munson, CEO of Twenty20, recently made the case for why User Generated Content (UGC) will be The Death Of Stock Photos
. He argued that “stock photos do not depict reality” and that “brands that use them risk coming off as generic and out-of-touch” with consumers.
Adobe has launched [St] Adobe Stock
as part of its Adobe Creative Cloud subscription offering. Creative Cloud customers are now able to launch Adobe Stock directly within CC desktop software such as Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop or After Effects, and add watermarked or licensed images to their Creative Cloud Libraries. This will allow them to access and work with images across multiple desktop tools.
Visual Connections has announced the dates for its October conference in New York. This year Visual Connections New York 2015
will be on October 28th immediately following the DMLA (formerly PACA) Annual Conference
that runs from Sunday October 25 through Tuesday the 27th. And if that isn’t enough photo related events for you PhotoPlus Expo
will be October 22-24, 2015 at the Javits Convention Center.
LMKtag (also Lamark
) has developed a relatively inexpensive system to embed tags, invisible to the naked eye, in digital images files. These tags link back to a LMKtag database that contains the image creator’s name and contact information as well as whether the image is available for licensing. The database can also include caption information and other metadata about the image and the creator can adjust this information at any time.
is a relatively new social media site (launched in September 2013) that is designed to encourage photographers to shoot more pictures, work on assignments, participate in contests, build cool portfolios and socialize with each other.
Should traditional agencies be making more of an effort to source images from cell phone users? Sixteen months ago Alamy
introduced its Stockimo app
and started accepting images into its collection that are taken with cell phones. To date about 350,000 images have been submitted and about 170,000 accepted.
During the CEPIC Congress
in Warsaw a Russian stock photo agent told me that Russian photographers can live and support a family very comfortably on 50,000 roubles a month. At today’s currency exchange that works out to about $886 per month or $10,632 per year.
Last week I wrote a story about “Microsoft’s Research On Captioning Photos Automatically
." I argued that this technology is a long way from being of much use to stock photo customers who trying to find useful photos for their projects. However, helping users find photos
may not be what Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are really trying to accomplish.
Microsoft recently published an article about the advancements they are making in developing technology that can automatically caption pictures. (See here
.) However, from the point of finding images on the Internet there is one big flaw in where they are headed. In most cases there will be a huge number of choices that can reasonably have the same caption.
Many traditional suppliers of stock image (those that have been in business 15, 20 years or more) need to give some thought to what the image producing crowd wants. They need to consider possible ways of adjusting their business model in order to meet some of the needs of these part-time image creators. And they need to recognize how these photographers may change the entire stock photography licensing business.
Microsoft say that worldwide there are about 400 new powerpoint presentations being prepared each second. That works out to about 12.6 billion presentations a year. A significant percentage of them use multiple images. Some are the creator’s personal images. But the vast majority are grabbed from the Internet via Google, Bing, Flickr or somewhere else. If users paid even $1.00 for each image used in such presentations the annual gross revenue might be more than 5 times the revenue generated worldwide by the stock photo industry.
provides social media tools that may help users make more effective use of social media. Among the information offered is data from 300,000+ business users compiled in an infographic that shows the ideal image size for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Each of these sites has specific dimensions that you need to adhere to if you want your images to look their best.
As the stock photo industry has changed and revenue for many stock images providers has declined many traditional providers have been forced to cut back on staff, and in particular editors. This is also true of many photo users who previously had time to review portfolios, encourage new talent and support new photographers as they improved their skills. Now, most of the editors and picture buyers that are left have trouble keeping up with the images that fly across their desks, let alone find time to seek out the best images and encourage new talent. So who does the editing?
(“MFC”) - a global licensor of premium stock images - has sold 100% of the shares of its European operations to Mediapro Mediamarketing GmbH of Vienna, Austria. The transaction which closed on April 30th includes Masterfile companies in France, Germany, Italy and the UK (collectively “Masterfile Europe”).
Posting images on Social Media sites can be a dangerous thing. What rights are you giving away? Can someone else use your image without your knowledge? Can they earn revenue from your image without sharing any of it with you? If someone else mis-uses your image are you legally liable?
, Microsoft and Shutterstock
have teamed up to offer over $10,000 worth of prizes and Microsoft hardware to photographers who participate in the My World contest. Any photographer, amateur or professional, can enter and may interpret the theme of the competition any way they like. As a result PicHit will undoubtedly get images on every conceivable subject
Pond5 has announced a partnership with the 48 Hour Film Project, the largest and most dynamic timed film competition in the world.
As the official stock media sponsor for all 135 cities participating in the competition, Pond5 is offering 100 hand-picked audio tracks to contestants for free. All participants will also receive $25 in Pond5 credit.
Are we about to experience another major shift in the photography market similar to the shift from RM to RF and the dramatic changes brought about by Microstock? At the CEPIC Congress
in Warsaw on Friday June 5th at 10:00am I will be moderating a panel discussion on Crowdsourcing
and how it is likely to impact the stock photography business in the near future.
Be sure to read Paul Melcher’s story in his Kaptur Magazine
about where image recognition software is headed.
promotes itself as offering “FREE images” and says it has become an excellent source of photography, vector graphics, illustrations, clipart, handpicked bundles, and more for personal and business use.
has launched a new website that features professional, high quality images of nature, wildlife, and landscapes. Individual photos are available under royalty-free licenses at prices that range from $3 to $10 depending on the file size of the photo purchased.
If the blogs are any indication more and more Shutterstock contributors seem to be complaining about declining revenue. While individual royalties may not have been as high as some would have liked, for several years they were at least going up steadily month to month to month, or compared to the same month a year earlier. Within the last year or so an increasing number of contributors are complaining about revenue stagnation or decline.
, in collaboration with Instagram, has announced a call for entries for a new grant to support photographers using Instagram to document stories from underrepresented communities around the world. The three winners will each receive $10,000.
The launch of Windows 10 later this year could dramatically change the way people find pictures. On April 29th during the annual Microstock Build Developers Conference in San Francisco Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella described how Microsoft intends to (1) Build the Intelligent Cloud, (2) Reinvent productivity and business process and (3) Create more personal computing.
has reported $97.5 million in revenue for Q1 2015, a 34% increase over Q1 2015. There were 33.4 downloads for the quarter. About 28% percent of revenue for the quarter was paid out to contributors in royalties. The average price per download was $2.87 up from $2.68 in the previous quarter and a 17% increase compared to Q1 2015. There were 51.6 million images in the collection as of March 31, 2015 plus 2.6 million video clips. At the end of the quarter the company had 542 employees worldwide.?
In March, Shutterstock
began testing a new collection called Premier Selects
that is only available to Enterprise customers. For more about how it works check out https://premier.shutterstock.com
Maria Pallante the current Register of Copyrights and Director of the United States Copyright Office testified before the House Judiciary Committee on April 29th and offered a number of ideas for modernization of the copyright office. You can access the entire testimony here
has announced the release of Stock Photos by Dreamstime
, a new mobile phone app geared toward customers interested in purchasing and downloading images directly onto their smartphones and tablets. With the new mobile app, the Dreamstime team will be able to offer its popular, high quality digital images to an even greater range of on-the-go customers.
Shutterstock has provided a list of the 10 most popular cameras used by their contributors in 2014. (See Chart
.) They obtained this information by extracting the EXIF data from the photos uploaded.
, has unveiled auto-tagging technology that they claim is the first of its kind in the stock media industry. Built with artificial intelligence, this pioneering feature automatically generates keywords for each photo and video uploaded to the Pond5 platform.
The U.S. Copyright Office has created a Fair Use Index
to assist creators and user in understanding what is considered “Fair Use.” Fair use is a longstanding and vital aspect of American copyright law. The goal of the Index is to make the principles and application of fair use more accessible and understandable by presenting a searchable database of court opinions.
Want to know more about the people who are producing images that are licensed at microstock and subscription prices? Shutterstock Panorama
is worth a look.
Recently, I was asked to comment on whether a photographer under exclusive contract with a stock agency that licensed the work as Rights Managed could simultaneously post the same images on one of a series of social media sites.
If you’re interested in stock footage you may want to attend the ACSIL Footage Expo 2015
in Manhattan next week. The event will take place on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 between 10:30am and 5:15pm at the Midtown Loft & Terrace, 267 Fifth Avenue, (29th Street), New York. NY. Many of the major footage distributors will be exhibiting.
In order to earn significant money from licensing stock images it is almost mandatory to make the images available through more than one large stock image distributor. But having images with multiple distributors also makes it almost impossible to determine if there has been an infringement. While it is easy enough to determine if an image has been used on the Interne, it is often almost impossible to determine if the image was legally licensed.
It’s that time of year when high school seniors are waiting for college acceptance letters and thinking about future careers. If you know someone who is thinking about photography as a career you might want to point them to the stories listed below.
has raised $18 million in new venture capital and currently has a community of 13 million photographers across 150 countries.
has a great story by 30-year-old Brendan van Son about how he has been supporting himself for the last 5 years as a travel photographer/journalist. During that time he has visited almost 80 countries. He provides a lot of very valuable detail for anyone thinking about travel photography as a career.
, is hosting a NYC photo contest that awards $200 each for the best New York City photos in four different categories. The contest is in partnership with Mastercard
In March we reported that an ACSIL survey
of stock footage distributors concluded that globally $550 million in revenue was generated from the licensing of stock footage in 2014. The 53-question survey was sent to over 400 companies that license stock footage and 90 responded. The following is an executive summary of the results.
The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Google alleging the company has abused its dominant position in the markets for general Internet search services in the European Economic Area (EEA) by systematically favoring its own comparison shopping product in its general search results pages. The Commission's preliminary view is that such conduct infringes EU antitrust rules because it stifles competition and harms consumers.
I received a note from a stock photographer who was one of the more successful full-time image producers in the 1990s and early 2000s. He called my attention to a CNN story about “Workers Striking For $15 An Hour.” He is envious of those who will earn $15 per hour for their work. He is looking for a new career because he can no longer earn anywhere near $15 an hour in present value for the time and effort he puts into producing new images.
Most Rights Managed stock images can be used in many different non-conflicting ways by a variety of customers. The theory behind RM licensing is that the fee charged to use an image should have some relation to the value the customer receives from the use. RM photographers are encouraged to carefully negotiate, and spell out in detail in a license, the rights and limitations of each use. It is assumed that an honest customer will then track its usage. If the customer wants to make additional use of the same image the customer will then come back and negotiate an additional license. Is that working?
he Bridgeman Studio
has launched its second annual Awards competition with a theme of “The Great Outdoors
If you’re goal is to earn a significant portion of your livelihood from the images you produce, and you already have a significant number of the best image you know how to produce with all the agencies and distributors who represent your work, does it make sense to regularly add even more images of the same general subjects to these collections?
, unveiled two new types of video content today—Backlots
. Provided by partner CT Image
, these digital backlots allow editors to flawlessly simulate background scenery from 25 of the world’s major cities in their video productions.
If you’re thinking about submitting images to Shutterstock you might want to check out the next ShutterTalk Live streaming workshop, “Preparing Your First Photo Submission
,” on Thursday, April 9 at 11am EST.
continues to make it easier customers to get the images they need via their subscription products. Until last week customers that purchased a subscription were limited to 25 downloads a day and a maximum of 750 per month for customers in the U.S. and Canada.
A photojournalist’s goal should be to supply the publications they work for with the best possible image that accurately reflects what they saw. If readers are to trust newspapers and magazines they must know that the images and information provided are an accurate representation of what really happened.
In August 2014 EyeEm
announced that it would be introducing a “Market” aspect to its social media site. Market has finally been launched. EyeEm was established in 2011 and currently has over 13 million users who post photos taken with their cell phones and comment on each other’s work. It is unclear how many images are on the site.
One of the biggest problems for stock photographers is the percent of their images in major collections that haven’t been shown to any customer for years. I suspect that most of the major distributors aren’t even tracking this figure. If I had to guess I would estimate that as many as half the thumbnails in most online collections have not been viewed by any customer in the last two years.
Global crowd-sourced media platform and live-streaming company, Newzulu
, and mobile photo and video crowdsourcing service Scoopshot
, have partnered to collect and market citizen generated content and offer untapped revenue opportunities to brands and publishers around the world.
In mid-February Alamy published changes in its standard contract that were due to go into effect April 1st (45 days later). A number of photographers, particularly in the UK, had issues with certain clauses and a lively discussion ensued on the EPUK
In preparation for the BAPLA
Focus on Copyright event in London on May 14, 2015, BAPLA is surveying its membership on the standards and pricing members employ for Web, Social Media and App use.
has announced its debut into the stock photography industry. The New York-based agency offers the editorial and commercial photography market high-end imagery that is tastefully curated with authentic real life moments.
I’m getting more frequent requests from long/short hedge fund investors about Getty Images’ turnaround potential in 2015. Getty’s $550 million of 7 percent unsecured notes due in October 2020 are selling for approximately 50 cents on the dollar. Investors are trying to determine if that is a good price, or if they could go even lower. (Getty also has about $2 billion in additional debut.) Here’s some of what I tell them.
Back in the early 2000s Graphic Designers started complaining that Royalty Free stock was too expensive and began looking for less expensive ways to get the photos and illustrations they needed for their projects. That was the birth of microstock. Now Christian Toksvig, former Getty Images VP, Christian Toksvig,, thinks there is new demand for still lower prices. He has founded StockUnlimited
and is offering unlimited vector downloads for $9.99 per month.
According to Meredith Kopit Levien, New York Times EVP of Advertising, speaking to OMMA SXSW in Austin, TX recently, “Last year the Times did about $180 million in digital advertising and almost that much in digital subscriptions. That puts us at a digital business that’s in the $350 million range."
Royalty free stock image agency Novel Expression
and Jenn LeBlanc of Illustrated Romance
are launching the Exclusive Jenn LeBlanc for Novel Expression collection. The initial collection will feature images of male and female same sex couples in both contemporary and historical costumes.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) has started requesting images directly from some very experienced stock photographers and offering them $300 for all-future-rights, including copyright
, to any image they select.
Under the title “Imagestate Media Partners Limited – In Liquidation” the Joint Liquidator in the UK reported on 6 March 2015 that Imagestate had been liquidated.
Bond traders are asking “If Getty Images changed its name, but had all the same content and pictures, would this have a significant impact on sales/marketing?” The reason for this question is that revenue has been declining for Getty for at least eight quarter and it is becoming increasing apparent that there is likely no way to turn the business around.
iStock by Getty Images will stage the UAE's first ever iStockalypse event in Dubai from 26 thru 28 March, 2015. Specifically chosen as a fitting venue to mark the 10th anniversary of iStockalypse events, iStockalypse Dubai will bring together a select group of both local and global photographers and videographers for three-days of creative shoots and visually themed talks.
Stock photography is a two-sided market. For the most part image producers need a distributor to make potential customers aware of their work. Image buyers need distributors to make it easier for them to find what they need when they need it. The distributor needs to cover its cost of providing the service and make a profit. But the distributor must also manage the delicate balance between what customers are willing to pay and generating enough royalty for contributors to encourage them to continue to produce.
Jonathan Klein, Co-Founder and CEO of Getty Image, has stepped down as CEO 20 years to the day after he and Mark Getty founded the company. Klein will continue as chairman and will remain instrumental in determining strategy, direction and vision for Getty Images. As Klein transitions into his new role as Chairman the company is expected to “expand its footprint in the consumer space.”
Stock Photo Secrets
has put together a list of 80 Stock PhotographyTrends For 2015
, In 2014 Stock Photo Secrets surveyed stock agencies and put together a list 50 trends
of the kinds of imagery customers were buying. This year 16 agencies responded with the 80 most popular subjects their customers are requesting and using.
has acquired Rue des Archives
, the premier French archival photo library, and expanded the company’s range of historic imagery and personalities for licensing. Rue des Archives is an exceptional resource with photography ranging from the cave paintings of Lascaux to 21st century Parisian life.
Shutterstock has put together a very interesting Infographic related to Contributor Earnings
. Everyone engaged in stock photography -- regardless of whether they have ever licensed an image through Shutterstock, or any other microstock distributor -- should examine this Infographic carefully. It contains a lot of important insights.
Clear Arts – ImageProtect (www.imageprotect.com
) an image tracking company has successfully negotiated a six figure damages settlement for copyright infringement of images belonging to Lived In Images, Inc. against Buzzle.com, an online content farm. Lived In Images, Inc.
, is a stock photo archive specializing in home, garden, and interior design pictures.
The Microstock segment of the stock photography business has grown rapidly over the last few years. I estimate that in 2014 gross microstock revenue, worldwide, was approximately $850 million. Sales by the Big Four distributors – Shutterstock, iStock, Fotolia and Dreamstime – represented about 85% of this total.
, the leading mobile platform for photo and video crowdsourcing, has partnered with Pearson. In an effort to reach out and engage millennials, Pearson is using Scoopshot to crowdsource photos from around the world to illustrate its publications.
The third ACSIL
Global Survey of Stock Footage Companies (AGS3) reports a rapidly growing business for companies who have set up dedicated units to market and sell footage. The $550 million global business in 2014 represents a 40% increase in the three years since 2011 when the market was estimated at $394 million
On Thursday, March 26 Boston will, for the first time, host Visual Connections’
spring visual media expo at the modern and accessible Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School.
Almost every day another blog publishes a story ridiculing and putting down stock photography. They highlight images found on some of the major stock web sites that no one in their right mind would ever want use, except as a joke. Some examples can be found here
A new mobile-oriented, crowdsourced photography service called Twenty20
was launched recently. They claim to have the world’s largest crowdsourced commercial image catalog with 45 million imagers from 250,000 photographers based in 154 countries.
On February 24th at an invitation-only conference hosted in Miami by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Getty Images executives told investors that midstock revenue had declined 15% in Q4 2014 compared to Q4 2013. This decline was on top of a 9.8% decline in Q3 2014 compared to a year earlier. Getty’s midstock division includes iStock, Thinkstock and Photos.com.
The information supplied yesterday in our story CEPIC Stock Photography Awards Competition Opens
was incorrect. See the revised story here
. Instead of there being winners in six different categories of competition there will be a single category of Creative Stock
and monetary prizes given to the First, Second and Third place winners.
The Associated Press and the National Football League today extended their commercial photo agreement, solidifying the AP’s status as the worldwide commercial licensing agent of the NFL through the 2017 season.
, in conjunction with East News Photo Agency
, has launched the first edition of the CEPIC Stock Photography Awards
competition with a 3,000 Euro prize and a title of CEPIC Stock Photographer of the Year
Jerry Tavin and Joe Panker launched Come Alive Images
. This site is dedicated to the commercial potential of GIFs—motion graphics, cinemagraphs, animated photography, looping illustrations and animation, 3D stereo photography and photo/video hybrids.
, the world’s leader in visual communication, and LeanIn.Org
, the women’s non-profit founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, are celebrating one year of partnership with the anniversary of the Getty Images Lean In Collection
– a curation of images devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls and the communities who support them. Images from the collection have been licensed in over 65 countries, including Qatar, Kuwait and Korea, with sales doubling since the collection’s inception in February, 2014.
, the world’s two largest agencies for food photography, have signed a global partnership agreement. The two companies, widely recognized as market leaders in high-end culinary photography, will join forces from March 1st 2015.
I understand that Getty Images won’t be releasing Q4 2014 information to bond traders until April. Investors are anxiously awaiting the results and hoping Getty has been able to turn around its Midstock division (iStock, Thinkstock and Photos.com) in the first full quarter since its dramatic change in pricing strategy last September
Recently, I asked Geoff Tompkinson to share a little about his 35-year career in stock photography and where he thinks the business is headed. Before reading his story I suggest you take a look at Geoff’s amazing work – still photography
-- and then begin reading.
has launched a highly curated Premium RF collection
that places some of the company’s best images into a simple and easy to understand pricing model. The $250 for a small: 3mb/72 dpi image file and $500 for a 50mb/300 dpi file is a direct copy of the pricing used by Shutterstock
for its Offset.com
has reported $91.2 million in revenue for Q4 2014, a 34% increase over Q4 2013. There were 33.5 million downloads for the quarter. About 28 percent of revenue for the quarter was paid out to contributors in royalties. The average price per download was $2.68 up from $2.65 in the previous quarter and a 10% increase compared to Q4 2013. There were 46.8 million images in the collection at the end of 2014 plus 2 million video clips. At the end of the quarter the company had 513 employees worldwide.
The oldest photo on record is of a man on a Paris street getting his shoes shined. It was taken in 1838. In the first 170 years of photography up to the year 2000 it is estimated that 85 billion photos were taken. In 2014 alone, thanks to selfies, almost 1 trillion photos were taken and the number is expected to grow in 2015.
Getting new customers can be difficult. During Q3 2014 Shutterstock
spent about 25% of its gross revenue on sales and marketing. At that rate sales and marketing costs for all of 2014 could be in the range of $80 million.
Photographers with a limited number of images that they market directly from a single online site may want to check out the Australian company Searchmyimages.com
. For a reasonable monthly fee photographers can upload their images to this site. Searchmyimages will then constantly search the web for these images and informs the photographer when and where uses are found.
More and more photographers are looking to drones as a cheap way to do aerial photography and a look at subjects from new perspectives. But it is entirely possible that there will be severe restrictions on the private use of drones – at least in the U.S.
Popular photo services platform LightRocket
is accepting submissions for a photojournalism competition with prizes worth US$10,500, including US$4,000 for the Photographer of the Year.
Early-bird registration discounts for the CEPIC Congress 2015
in Warsaw, Poland will end on February 8, 2015. Always a highlight of the year for stock photo distributors, the Congress itself will take place at the 5-star Sofitel Warsaw Victoria Hotel
beginning on June 3, 2015 and continuing through June 6th.
After 44 years as owner and CEO of mauritius images
GmbH Hans-Jörg Zwez has retired. Stefan Ploghaus has taken over as new owner and CEO of the photo agency. The purchase price was not disclosed.
After reading “If I were Adobe
” Zeke Koch wrote, “I don’t totally get it. Why do you think we should avoid adding stock to Creative Cloud subscriptions?” I probably didn’t make my arguments clear. The following may help.
, a stock photography agency based in Spain with offices in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, and Paris, launched a new look on their website this week.
Adobe’s acquisition of Fotolia
is expected to close in February (second half of Adobe’s fiscal Q1 2015). Assuming everything goes well the next question on the minds of everyone in the stock photo industry is what will Adobe do with Fotolia and how will that affect the rest of the players.
, the one-stop music licensing hub for online and digital media, is delighted to announce Christina Vaughan is taking up the position of CEO from the 1st of February. Christina will remain as Chairman of Image Source
but will relinquish day to day operations of the business to Anthony Harris, who becomes Image Source’s CEO.
Image creators always want a higher royalty. How’s 100%
of what the customer pays? At Videoblocks Marketplace that’s what contributor will receive when their HD and 4K video clips are used. Too good to be true? Read on.
Based on the searches they have been getting in the last few months Shutterstock has just released a new infographic on 2015 Creative Trends
in the demand for still images, illustration and video clips. One of the interesting trends for photographers is that searches for “top view” have increased 66% in the past year.
Last week Sports Illustrated
, one of the most photo oriented magazines in the world, laid off all six of its staff photographers. They included Robert Beck, Simon Bruty, Bill Frakes, David Klutho, John McDonough, and Al Tielemans. In the future all images in SI will be shot by freelancers, or the wire services.
Have you gotten tired of reading all the “terms and conditions” on the social media sites? Or have you just given up and assumed they are OK. If you really read (and understand) all the terms on these sites is there any time left to engage on the sites? Is there any time left to take pictures?
has announced today the launch of the Pond5 Public Domain Project
, ( the first library of free public domain content designed specifically for media makers. The initial collection includes 10,000 video clips, 65,000 photos, thousands of sound recordings, and hundreds of 3D models.
, best known for its annual expo in New York, has added Boston to its schedule with a marketing event for stock image/footage agencies on Thursday, March 26th at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School. The Boston Visual Media Expo will follow a similar format to previous popular and successful events in Chicago and Toronto.
Dreamstime has been selected as a “beta provider of stock photos for Google display ads.” According to the explanation on the company’s online forum
contributors will be paid roughly $2 per image selected during the “beta” license period which is 12 months.
In the next year image creators who are also image buyers may determine the future of stock photography. One-third or more of the images purchased may be bought by people who are also trying to sell their images. As buyers they want the lowest possible price. With their seller hat on they want the highest possible price.
Yesterday, Shutterstock paid $33 million in cash to acquire London-based Rex Features
In the technology section of its website Crain’s New York Business
says, “The purchase of Rex puts Shutterstock in direct competition with Getty Images for a share of the editorial stock photography market, and ends long-held speculation that Shutterstock was looking to knock off its London rival.”
Shutterstock has announced that it is expanding its editorial and music services businesses with the acquisition of two companies -- Rex Features
Will Adobe offer a tool that makes it possible for its Illustrator and InDesign customers to discover if the images they find on microstock sites (particularly Shutterstock or iStock) are also available at Fotolia where they can be purchased for much less?
President Bob Hendriks and Treasurer Deborah Free have quietly announced resignation from their Young Photographer’s Alliance
(YPA) positions as of December 31st 2014.
When Adobe takes over Fotolia
be forced to lower their Image On Demand (IOD) prices? Basically, since Getty lowered iStock prices
last September non-exclusives images on iStock and Shutterstock images are priced about the same – roughly $10 per image for any file size. However, Fotolia images are priced 25% to 60% lower than Shutterstock on a yearly basis, and 60% to 75% lower if the customer purchases a Fotolia image pack on a monthly basis.
After last week, readers probably feel they have more information about iStock than they ever wanted to know. But an analysis of where contributors who produce microstock images live provides some additional insights into the future of stock photography. I promise this will be the last analysis of iStock data until July.
Most stock contributors want to believe that if they continue to produce more and better images more of their work will be downloaded (purchased by customers), and they will make more money. That’s not the way it seems to have worked at iStock in the last two years.
Since 2009 I have been tracking sales of some of iStock’s leading contributors and beginning in 2012 I have tracked 430 of them on a semi-annual basis. While 430 is only a small percentage of iStock’s total contributors which may number over 100,000 at the end of 2014 this small group had a combined total of over 54,982,100 image downloads in their careers with iStock. I believe this is about one-third of total iStock downloads since the company’s founding in 2002. Thus, the combined experience of this group is significant.
Getty’s simplification and dramatic lowering of iStock prices in September
in an effort to better complete with Shutterstock doesn’t seem to be working. The number of images downloaded in the last half of 2014 for 431 of iStock’s top producers was down about 34% compared to the first half of 2014.
Should the price paid to use a photo cover the cost to produce it? Most stock photographers recognize it is highly unlikely that they will regularly recover the cost of producing an image from a single sale. The profit and loss calculation is much more complicated.
Early in December ImageBrief introduced a Photographer Search feature. It’s a great idea and something photographers need, but it still needs a little work. This story identifies some of the problem areas and offers suggestions that make "Photographer Search" more user friendly.
Before reading this colloquy between Paul Melcher and myself the reader should review my story on “Authentic And Real Images
” and all the comments that started our whole conversation. Paul makes some excellent points. To a large extent I agree with his entire analysis. There is about to be some dramatic shifts in the way advertising is delivered. These stories look at some of the implications for photographers.
The not so new buzzwords in stock photography are “Authentic” and “Real.” In theory, a photo can’t be authentic or real unless it is captured as a grab shot of something that happened in front of you as you move through life. Many would like for you to believe that if the image is staged in any way by a professional it can’t be authentic or real, no matter how hard the professional tries to make it look that way.
has put together a video tribute
to 5 great movie directors -- Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Alfonso Cuaron and Terrence Malick – using only clips from their collection of stock video footage.
The Copyright Office has released the official 1,288 page version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition (the “Third Edition”)
. It is available on the Office’s website at http://copyright.gov/comp3/
For many the end of the year is a time to review past experiences and consider whether it makes sense to chart a new course in the year ahead. Stock photography has changed dramatically for professional image creators in the past few years and in general it looks like it will continue on a downhill slope. The following are links to several stories we’ve published in the last year that provide some prospective on where the business is headed. New readers, or long-term subscribers who might have missed some of what we published, may want to check out some of these stories.
It seems likely that we will see some major shifts in the stock photography business as the three major players – Getty Images, Shutterstock and Adobe/Fotolia – jockey for position in a market that is experiencing very little, if any growth. At the end of 2014 Getty’s total revenue
will be somewhere around $870 million, but $260 of that will be editorial. Shutterstocks will be about $328 million
and I estimate Fotolia’s at somewhere in the range of $110 million.
has been awarded $403,500 in a copyright infringement case against educational publisher John Wiley & Sons. The publisher was found to have used 6 images outside the scope of the license agreement. The case was heard before a jury in the Federal District Court the Northern District of Illinois.
Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") changed the rating outlook of Getty Images, Inc.
to negative from stable due to continuing declines in Midstock revenue. Moody's also revised its forecast indicating very high leverage over the next 12 months with reduced free cash flow. Moody's affirmed the B3 Corporate Family Rating, B3-PD Probability of Default Rating.
Margi Sheard of the Greatstock (www.greatstock.co.za)
agency in South Africa recently published a story that raised an important issue about the world’s perception of Africa and the African people. The news media’s focus on tragedy and problems often provides an inaccurate picture of the real Africa, but it raises the issue of whether there is any way for photographers to do more to show the world the real Africa of the 21st century.
Adobe has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Fotolia
for approximately $800 million in cash. Fotolia will be integrated into Adobe Creative Cloud
, providing current and future Creative Cloud members with the ability to access and purchase over 34 million images and videos.
Peter Lik, Australian fine art photographer of landscapes, recently sold one of his images entitled “Ghost” for $6.5 million, the highest price ever paid for a single image. To see the photo of the very popular Antelope Canyon, Arizona check out PetaPixel
There are widespread rumors that, in an effort to get out from under some of its crushing debt, Getty
hopes to sell its Editorial Division early in 2015. It has been reported that Q3 2014 sales for this segment of their business was about $65 million up 21% year-on-year. Editorial represents about 30% of the company’s gross revenue.
has added new features to its successful mobile app Stockimo that was launched last February
. To date more than 180,000 images have been submitted through the app and 99,000 have been accepted for marketing. These images can be found among the almost 53 million images on Alamy.com using the keyword “Stockimo.”
The crowdsourcing site FOAP
has raised a fresh $2.3 million in funding from some interesting names like CNN Worldwide President, Jeff Zucker; CEO and Co-Founder of VaynerMedia, Gary Vaynerchuk; Upshot Chairman and Protagonist LLC Partner, Jordan Rednor; and CEO of Delivery Hero, Niklas Ostberg, among others. The company raised another $1.5 million
in August. Total funding now stands at roughly $5 million but they’re not quite ready to call this a Series A yet.
contributors have been advised that on January 15, 2014, the accounting operations of Getty Images and iStock will be combined into one unified system. Since Getty acquired iStock in February 2006 the two brands have been operated as separate businesses with separate accounting departments.
If your are a photographer who works hard, but has trouble earning much of a profit then you need to read John Harrington's advice. John is an award-winning Washington, DC based photographer who covers the world of politics as well as doing a wide range of commercial assignments. His success is due in no small part to his excellent business skills.
On Monday I mentioned several search innovations
that Shutterstock is testing at Shutterstock/Labs
. Most of these ideas were developed during company wide hackathons.
You'll never guess what attendees at the annual Self-Publishing in the Digital Age conference in London were told to pay for a photo that would attract readers and help sell their book. You'll be surprised. Check out this story.
Many photographers who thought they were being good Net Citizens when they made their images available with Creative Commons Licenses and allowed anyone to use the images for free have recently received some nasty shocks. Microsoft and Flickr have decided to use those images to enrich themselves. Forget about any benefit to the creator.
One of the biggest problems in the stock photo business is search. As the most popular search engines gobble up more and more images it has become harder and harder for clients to find the best image for their projects. No buyer has the time to review even a fraction of the returns from most keyword searches.
Scoopshot is the latest to jump on the embed bandwagon. When users find an image they want to use they have the option of paying the listed price for a download or “Use For Free.” Get more information about how it works.
Recently, Photoshelter launched Lattice
, a Pinterest like curation and discovery experience designed to show off the best of more than 200,000,000 images from the 80,000 pro photographers that use PhotoShelter.
Currently “boards” are created by in-house staff and “invited curators.” The vision is that eventually anyone will be available to create boards. Photographers can recommend certain of their best images for addition to boards, but for right now they cannot add images to boards directly.
Following a brief illness George Sinclair, founder and executive director of Universal Images Group, Ltd. died from cardiac arrest on Thursday November 20, 2014, at 9:30pm in London.
I am constantly challenged on why I think there is likely to be little or no revenue growth in the stock photo business. Many point out that clearly there is a huge explosion in the use of imagery online. Therefore, why won’t that be reflected in the growth of stock photo revenue? They also point to Shutterstock’s consistent 40% growth per year over for the last three years. Here are 6 reasons why industry revenue growth is and will continue to be in the very low single digits, until it finally turns negative.
has announced a partnership between WIX
and its Bigstock
brand. Wix is a website creation tool designed for small businesses with 56 million users in 190 countries. Wix offers a “drag n' drop website building platform with HTML5 capabilities, 100s of designer made templates, top grade hosting, innovative Apps and tons of features for free.”
At PhotoPlusExpo in New York last month there was tremendous interest among videographers and photographers in the DJI Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter with Integrated FPV Camera. This piece of equipment seems to offer great potential for a host of commercial photography uses. But, there are two major issues with the use of drones for photography – laws regarding aircraft safety and personal privacy. The air safety rules come under the jurisdiction of the FAA. Privacy laws are traditionally state laws.
Recently Getty Images has started allowing its customers to organize their search returns by the “Most Popular” images as well as the default “Best Match” that has been the only option for years. I thought it would be interesting to see which photographers that shoot people produce the work that is in greatest demand at Getty images. I looked at the first 500 images returned when a customer does a search for “People” and narrowed the search to “Most Popular,” “RF only” and only photography.
ImageBrief has updated its rules regarding RF and provided a long explanation here
. Evidentally, many ImageBrief (IB) contributors have been asking “Why is ImageBrief adding so many RF briefs?” IB’s answer is, “We’re responding to client demands and listening to the market.”
A couple weeks ago I was talking with a well known picture researcher. He said, “I wish all these copyright cases were over!” He pointed out that every time someone files a copyright suit he gets a new list of people whose images he can’t use when searching for images for a new project. Is there some way to protect your rights and still license a reasonable number of new images?
has reported $83.7 million in revenue and total downloads of 31.2 million for Q3 2014. About 30 percent of the revenue was paid out to contributors in royalties. At the end of the quarter the company had 491 employees worldwide. The average price per download was $2.65 up from $2.35 in the previous quarter and an 13% increase compared to Q2 2013. This increase in the average price was due primarily to a growing number of Enterprise and Video sales.
, Inc. has introduced Sequence
, an in-browser editing tool designed to provide an easy way for anyone to create and quickly share videos with colleagues and clients. Sequence allows users to seamlessly integrate their own footage and music with Shutterstock’s collection of more than 2 million high-quality video clips and music tracks to spark inspiration and bring their vision to life.
According to eMarketer’s 2014 Global Media Intelligence Report
the revenue generated from global ad spend in 2014 is expected to be $545.24 billion. While total ad spending is expected to increase 5.7% compared to 2013, the percentage of this total spent for newspaper and magazine advertising continues to decline compared to the previous year while the percentage spent on digital will rise dramatically.
Stock photo sellers need to join together through their trade associations and stop licensing rights to their images to educational publisher for the use in online products until publishers agree to a new compensation strategy for such products. Historically, the licensing of photo uses for textbooks and educational materials has been treated in much the same way as the licensing for magazines and newspapers. That needs to change
There is a segment of the photographic community that insists on arguing that in order to get more reasonable prices for image use we must eliminate RF. Forget it; it’s impossible; it won’t happen. But there are other options.
Are more and more of your customers asking for RF licensed because they must have the flexibility to use the image in any way that develops and for an unlimited period of time? Hans Halberstadt of MilitaryStockPhoto
used to dismiss inquiries for RF licenses out of hand, but in recent years has found that many of his ad agency customers insist on the flexibility of an RF licenses.
Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante has released a public draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition
(the “Third Edition”). This is expected to be the first major revision of the law in more than two decades. The draft presents more than 1200 pages of administrative practices and sets the stage for a number of long-term improvements in registration and recordation policy.
has added a new clipbin sharing capability to its online stock footage search platform. The newly released feature allows users to share clipbins via email, streamlining the review and evaluation of stock footage screening clips and supporting greater collaboration.
In today's world most editorial or marketing pieces can be delivered in a variety of different ways over a long period of time. Customers licensing rights to photos don’t want to take the risk that plans will change and somehow an image will be used beyond a narrow and specific RM license. Consequently they often ask for "all-rights" to use the image. Here are some thoughts on how to deal with such requests and still hang onto the customer.
Dreamstime, Inc. is experiencing massive growth via their newly released app, Dreamstime Companion
launched in July on iOS and Google Play. The app allows smartphone users to access the Dreamstime community and upload their mobile photos via their mobile devices. In about three months approximately 30,000 mobile images have been added to Dreamstime’s 25 million image collection.
Seattle photographer Christopher Boffoli has sued the popular image-sharing site for failing to remove his images after he sent the site proper DMCA notice.
has announced the opening of its first office in Australia in order to support strong growth across Australia and New Zealand.
In the olden days (20th Century) when someone wanted to promote a product of service they placed an ad (that usually included a photo) in a magazine, newspaper or on TV. Many photographers were paid substantial fees for the use of their photos in these ads. Now the future of advertising may be in social media and embedding images. See here for how this could dramatically change the market.
The results of the annual GDUSA Stock Survey
of graphic designers in the U.S. is now available online. For several years nearly every graphic designers has answered that they use stock sometime during the year, but this year, for the first time, two-thirds of those answering the survey use stock more than 20 times a year and one-third use stock imagery more than 100 times a years.
One of the most interesting panels at the Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA formerly known as PACA) annual conference in New York this week was on “Opening New Markets Through Image Embedding.” Back in March Getty Images launched its Image Embed Tool
and made 35 million images available for free embedding on social media sites. That number has now jumped to about 50 million.
The Board of Directors of the American Society of Media Photographers
(ASMP) has announced the selection of Thomas R. Kennedy as the Society's Executive Director, effective January 1, 2015. Kennedy is an internationally known visual communicator with extensive experience in print and online journalism.
Yesterday, I made an attempt to explain what is happening in the UK with regard to making it easier for consumer to use images that are truly “orphaned,” or if it is just difficult to find the name of and locate the creator. (See story
) Today, I had the following exchange of emails with Andrea Stern, Director of MOCA: Ministry of Copyright Cultural Creators’ Assets in the UK.
As of October 1, 2014 authorized legal entities in the UK will be able to collect payments for the use of your photographs even if you are not a member of the organization. This is known as Extended Collective Licensing (ECL).
For those licensing images to textbooks National Public Radio published an interesting report recently that is worth a listen
. It was pointed out that prices for college textbooks are often over $300 and climbing faster than the cost of food, clothing, cars and even health care.
One of the arguments for licensing images as Rights Managed is that only then can they be licensed for Exclusive uses because all the uses of the images are controlled and limited. With Royalty Free customers can continue to use the images they acquire in unspecified ways long after initially licensed with very few limitations.
The Footage Marketplace
is signing up exhibitors for footageMarketplace USA’14 that will be held at the Art Directors Club in New York on November 19, 2014. The event will start at 11:00 am and continue until 7:30 pm.
Using numbers from Getty Images it is interesting to look back at the RM and RF unit sales and revenue trends over the last decade. Between 2003 and 2007 when Getty was a public company they provided investors with very precise gross revenue and average price per image figures. This made it possible to make a reasonable estimate of the number of images licensed in each category.
has adopted Solr search technology to power its online stock footage search and screening platform. The newly deployed search engine allows Footage.net to better manage huge datasets, organize diverse metadata fields, perform a vast number of simultaneous searches and filter search results dynamically. It's also extremely fast, significantly expediting the footage search and discovery process for Footage.net's global user base.
Did you know that it is illegal to license for commercial use pictures of hundreds of the most popular, beautiful and interesting venues around the world? In many cases it is also illegal to use such pictures for editorial purposes.
Recently, Tyler Olson discovered by searching Google that one of his images (http://netropolitanclub.com/
) had been used on over 1,640 web sites. However, all these uses were not the result of multiple sales, but of a single sale to the Netropolitan Club.
Customers looking for a visual solution are turning more and more to illustration and seeking photography less and less. This does not mean that the use of photography is disappearing, but for photographers it is worrying trend. Photographers should recognize that the overall the demand for photographs, particularly for use in advertising and marketing is declining relative to the use of illustration.
In the case of Grant Heilman Photography
, Inc. vs. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. before Judge Michael M. Baylson in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania a jury has found in favor of Grant Heilman and awarded them the amount of $127,087 for the unauthorized use of a total of 53 images.
In his Kaptur blog
last week Paul Melcher pointed out that in the near future brands may want to wholly own the photography they produce so they can then give it away just as Apple did with music when they partnered with U2 to make a massive release of U2’s new “Songs of Innocence” album.
Many stock agencies focus on the number of images they have in their collections. But does the customer really care? Rather than numbers, I think the customer is looking for where they can find (1) the right image, (2) quickly and easily and (3) at a price they can afford. Often sheer numbers don’t produce the best results.
The next CEPIC
International Congress will be held in Warsaw on June 3rd through 6th, 2015. The CEPIC Congress is the premier annual event where stock agencies and image distributors from around the world meet to conduct business and get updated on the latest trends in the stock photography industry.
and Thriving Archives
have teamed up again to conduct the ACSIL Global Survey of Stock Footage Companies 3 (AGS3)
. Like their two previous collaborations, the AGS3 will explore and assess overall business conditions within the stock footage industry, discover how things are getting done, track evolving trends and provide strategic, action-oriented data to footage industry leaders. All footage companies worldwide are invited to participate.
Search for your name on Images.Google.com
. You may be surprised at the results. And there may be money waiting for you.
I recently received a note from a frustrated Getty Images RM photographer who has been with Getty since they acquired Tony Stone Images in the 1990s, and whose images have earned millions of dollars for Getty in more than two decades. This photographer would like to contribute more images to the RM collection, but is limited to 20 images per-quarter. Images were recently returned to him because he submitted them before the beginning of the new quarter.
Getty Images appears to be trying to drive its www.gettyimages.com
customers to iStock where the customers can get images for a fraction of what they would cost on Gettyimages.com.
Here are answers from Charles Taylor to a few follow-up questions I asked after publishing the GDI story
has announced the release of a new personalization feature, as well as a new social media function.
At the International Photojournalism Festival in Perpignan earlier this month and in a later press announcement GDI Media Limited announced the aim to consolidate many smaller independent picture agencies into a single publicly traded company that will be traded on the AIM stock exchange
in the UK.
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.