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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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.