1998 Survey (Questions)

Posted on 1/6/1998 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



January 6, 1998

This issue contains a survey that will look at photographer attitudes toward the

marketing by stock agencies of royalty free products as well as the general stock

photo income trends of individual photographers.

Please respond to the ten questions printed at the bottom of this story.

One part of the "Royalty Free" issue that has been difficult to frame into a

Yes/No question is how agencies can effectively compete with the RF sellers for

that segment of buyers who are purchasing RF discs. This becomes more critical

as RF sellers begin licensing individual usages on-line.

Many agencies believe that a majority of the buyers purchasing RF discs would be

willing to pay a royalty (after all they are paying for the disc) if the price

for the usage were somewhat lower than traditional prices. But, no one has

clearly defined how much lower that needs to be.

The buzzword for this lower pricing has become "Royalty Lite." (The term

Royalty Lite is a registered trademark worldwide of WestLight. Digital Vision

in the UK has also said they are trying to register this as a trademark.

Consequently, I will use the term "Low Royalty" to refer to this concept in the


PhotoDisc is already charging a low royalty of $69.95 for unlimited use. I

believe most stock agencies are thinking in terms of a somewhat higher price

point, plus some restrictions on print run. The general thinking is that many

buyers would be willing to pay a slightly higher price (some say as much as

$250, which is the average cost of a CD-ROM disc) if they can get unlimited use

for their particular project.

Since most RF buyers are working on projects with small press runs there are

probably some acceptable limitations for "low royalty" that would enable it to

work in conjunction with traditional pricing formats.

One of the nice things about the LR system is that the usage is known and

limited. Therefore, higher restricted use rights might be sold to someone else

in the future.

This raises the next question. Should the "Low Royalty" files and the

"Traditional" files be kept separate, or is it possible to handle the images as

one file and simply license certain uses at lower rates?

There is no indication that there is any solid agreement among agencies as to

how best to approach this issue. There is a consensus that something needs to

be done to try to recapture clients who have gone to RF. In the near future,

expect to see several agencies begin to define strategies for dealing with this


In addition to responding to the survey questions we would appreciate any comments

or opinions you might have relative to the avove issue.


(This survey is designed for photographers and should only be answered by those who

produce images. Stock agents, please do not answer.)

    1 - Are you represented by a stock agency?

     No		Yes, One agency		Yes, More than One Agency 

    2 - Do you have any photographs in a print or digital catalog?

     Yes       		No 

    3 - Did you get as many images in catalogs in 1997 as you did in 1996, or in

    previous years?

     more than previous years	less than previous years	about the same 

    4 - How did your production of new stock images in 1997 compare with previous


     greater than previous years	less than previous years	about the same 

    5 - How did your gross earnings from stock images in 1997 compare with previous


     greater than previous years	less than previous years	about the same 

    6 - In what range was your total income from stock in 1997?

     [  ]  less than $10,000		[  ]  $100,000 to $150,000	

    [ ] $10,000 to $20,000 [ ] $150,000 to $250,000

    [ ] $20,000 to $40,000 [ ] $250,000 to $400,000

    [ ] $40,000 to $70,000 [ ] over $400,000

    [ ] $70,000 to $100,000

    7 - Have you allowed any of your images to be used on Royalty Free Discs?

     Yes    				No 

    8 - Would you be willing to put some of your images on a Royalty Free disc if

    you were given the opportunity?

     Yes 				No 

    9 - Do you think your stock agency should be involved in producing and marketing

    some type of Royalty Free or Low Royalty product?

     Yes				No 

    10 - Are you satisfied with your current agency relationships?

     Yes				No 

Please return this survey to:

Jim Pickerell, 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, Fax:301-309-0941

Results: The results will be published in the March 1998 issue of Selling Stock

Copyright © 1998 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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