Alamy’s 2011 Financial Results Revealed

Posted on 12/7/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

As we near the end of 2012, I’ve just received a copy of Alamy’s financial statement for 2011 that was filed with Companies House in the UK in August of this year. In 2011 Alamy’s gross turnover was £14,853,670 (about $22,913,400). This was up $1,042,600 (about 4.8%) from $21,870,800 in 2010.  However, 2009 revenue was $22,864,000 so in 2011 they were barely able to climb back from 2010's lost sales.

During 2011 they paid out $14,395,000 (about 64% of total revenue) in royalties to contributors. After all costs of doing business and taxes were deducted the company’s profit for the year was $698,770 (about 3% of total revenue).

  2010 pounds 2010 dollars 2011 pounds 2011 dollars
Turnover (Gross Sales) £14,139,495 $21,870,800 £14,853,670 $22,913,400
Cost of Sales        
Royalty Payments £9,058,494 $14,011,600 £9,331,597 $14,395,000
Operating expenses        
and taxes £4,864,977   £5,069,094  
Profit £216,024 $334,144 £452,979 $698,770
Profit % gross   1.5%   3%
Profit % royalty   2.4%   4.8%

While this is certainly moving in the right direction it is worth taking a look back to 2008 to see where things were then. Revenues in 2008 were $31.2 million. They peaked in the second quarter of 2008 with total revenues for that quarter of $8.53 million. Thus, 2011 revenues were still 27% less than those in 2008.

Another thing that’s clear is that additional images don’t necessarily generate additional revenue. At the end of 2008 Alamy had 14.28 million images on its site. By the end of 2011 that number had jumped to 27.1 million. Today, they have 33.98 million images a 130% increase over 2008. We don’t know how much sales have grown in 2012, but it is hard to imagine that it is much more than 5% over the 2011 figures.

In 2008 77% of Alamy’s revenue came from editorial sales. No similar figure was provided in the 2011 report, but there is no reason to believe that has changed substantially.

Sales Distribution

The 2011 financial report also supplied figures on areas of the world where sales were generated. They were as follows:
    36.8% in the UK

    36.2% in United States
    13.1% in Europe
    13.9% in Rest of the World
Back in 2008 Alamy broke down these figures by currency. 51.4% of the revenue was in English pounds, 34.3% in U.S. dollars and 14,2% in Euros. It was pointed out at the time that most of the non-UK or Europeans countries transacted their business using U.S. dollars. Thus, U.S. dollar sales in 2008 is probably comparable to U.S. and Rest of the World sales in 2011, or 50.1% of the total.

In the past couple of years Alamy has made a point about how much they have grown sales in the U.S. as a result of establishing a sales organization here. But, meanwhile sales in the UK, their home base, have dropped substantially, not only in terms of revenue generated, but as a percentage of total sales. Revenue generated in 2008 from UK sales was $16,038,000. In 2011 it was $8,432,131, just over half of what it was in 2008.

Lower Royalties

In the last couple of weeks Alamy contributors have been complaining about Alamy’s move to lower royalties beginning in 2013. Alamy’s argues that this move is necessary in order to expand its marketing in Europe and the rest of the world. While U.S. sales are still lower than they were in 2008, clearly the increased U.S. marketing effort have had some effect in stemming the tide of falling revenue since that time.

Many contributors are bothered by the fact that since 2006 Alamy has invested 89% of the profits of the company in medical research. They believe “profits” should be returned to contributors in terms of higher royalties, rather than lowering royalties.

A little history is in order. Alamy was co-founded in 1999 by James West and his uncle Mike Fischer. Formerly, Fischer was co-founder and CEO of RM Plc, the leading provider of IT solutions to UK schools, colleges and universities. He also founded the Fischer Family Trust that runs projects in health and education. Given his IT background he was the lead developer of Alamy’s technology.

Fischer is Alamy’s Chairman of the Board and controlling stockholder. It is my understanding that he put up the initial capital to start the company. It seems likely that part of the financial arrangement for this very risky investment of capital in 1999 was that, if and when the business became profitable, most of the profits would be used to support the work of the Fischer Family Trust. The FFT funds research into a number of health, educational, maritime and conservation projects.

The Alamy profits have been handed over to the Trust have provided the bulk of the funding for Systems Biology Laboratory, a not for profit community interest company. SBL operates out of the same building where Alamy is headquartered and is dedicated to improving patient treatment options through high quality, collaborative and clinically focused research. Its team works on cancer immunotherapy and DNA damage in neurons.

West and Fischer are the only directors. In 2011 their total combined remuneration from Alamy was about $570,000 with one of them receiving about $385,000.

Copyright © 2012 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, 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:  


  • Jesse Hughes Posted Dec 7, 2012
    Looks like they need to increase their prices.

  • Paul Melcher Posted Dec 7, 2012
    It doesn't say if the lost of revenue is due from diminishing number of sales or/and lower sales prices. It would be interesting to know.
    Great article Jim, thank you for sharing this info.

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Dec 7, 2012

    I see the article and say that alamy is doing fine. They are making about the same money now as several years agoand that can not be said about many businesses in this world-wide Recession.

    You seem negative in almost everything you write.... you seem like you WANT to address negative. Is this what old age does to us?

    How is YOUR income & readership doing --- making a lot more money now, Jim? I would bet not.

    Alamy is one of the truly ethical agencies in this world and you still talk negatively about their business. They are DROPPING to 50%... horrible to you! How about Getty and their 20% to 30%. Do they get a pass?

    You know I like you as a person, Jim, but look for the GOOD instead of making everything bad!

    I write this from shooting in Dubai --- and yes, when I get images ready, I will send the images to alamy and they will make money. I think positively and my business continues to bring me money & joy. I wish a little of my positive vibe would rub off on you!

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff