Can Powerpoint Presentations Be An Important Market For Stock Photography?

Posted on 5/27/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Microsoft say that worldwide there are about 400 new powerpoint presentations being prepared each second. That works out to about 12.6 billion presentations a year. A significant percentage of them use multiple images. Some are the creator’s personal images. But the vast majority are grabbed from the Internet via Google, Bing, Flickr or somewhere else. If users paid even $1.00 for each image used in such presentations the annual gross revenue might be more than 5 times the revenue generated worldwide by the stock photo industry.

Recently we learned about a new company called Part of their goal is to help users understand that image creators have rights and should be compensated when their images are used.
The following is a conversation I had with Patrick Walsh, PicHit’s Content and Community Manager.

JP - It is my understanding, from information I got during the Build 2015 conference, that PicHit currently has over 50 million images in its collection. It is unclear whether some or all of these images will be available to user for free? I understand that image users will be able to subscribe to the PicHit collection for $9.99 a month and I guess that means they can use as many images as they want during that month. If that is not the case please let me know.

PW - The approximately 60,000 images within the PicHit library are accessible for download through our website based on a freemium model.  Photo users can access all of our images at a low resolution for free; however, if they want to obtain the high resolution version of the image then they must sign up for a premium account at $9.99 per month.

To be clear, Shutterstock’s library of 50 million+ images are not included as part of the $9.99 per month subscription.

JP - I’m also confused about your relationship with Shutterstock. I know you are jointly sponsoring the “My World” contest. What is unclear is whether Shutterstock images will be available through PicHit, or will Shutterstock just be another option in the Sway offering? If image users can use all the Shutterstock images they want for $9.99 a month that is a huge discount over what Shutterstock currently charges.

PW - PicHit currently has a PowerPoint app in beta for users to search and license images for their presentations. This beta is part of PowerPoint in Office 365, and not currently available within other Microsoft products like Sway.

PicHit is collaborating with Shutterstock to bring high quality images to PowerPoint/Office users, by including Shutterstock’s collection of 50+ million authentic images and making them available for licensing within the PicHit app. Within this application, a PowerPoint user could select an image from PicHit or an image from Shutterstock.  If they are choosing an image from Shutterstock, the current test pricing is $4.99 per image for use only in Microsoft products. The advantage to using this app is that photo users can search, access and purchase the exact image that they require without leaving their presentation.
    (JP - When an Office 365 PowerPoint beta user goes to the “Store” they have a choice of several free Apps. PicHit is one of them. The user can search PicHit’s free collection, or they have the option to search a “Pay per Photo” collection. Currently the “Pay per Photo” collection is made up entirely of Shutterstock images. Each photo has a little bar in the top left hand corner that says “4.99.”

    The customer is given the choice to Try, Buy or View the image. If they Try the image automatically appears in their PowerPoint layout with the Shutterstock watermark. It can be resized and positioned. When the customer clicks Buy and goes through the process of paying for the photo the watermark is removed.)
JP - Your “My World” contest seems a very smart move. Not only are users asked to upload their best pictures, in order to get a shot at the best prize they must upload at least 30 images.
PW - Photographers can upload a single image, but to be in with a chance of winning the first prize they must obtain 30+ likes on that image.  To be in with a chance of winning second or third prize they must have 25+ likes on an image.

JP - And the people who upload the most get a shot at a $200 prize. Many people will want to upload as many pictures as they can. With this offering you may be able to get another 50 million images before the end of the contest on June 30th.
PW - As we offer collections of images in ready-made PowerPoint slide format, we introduced the element into the competition in order to encourage people to post ‘collections’ of images that will have a ‘flow’ to them and enhance the story telling element.

JP - As I understand it no tagging of the images is required. If this is the case, and the images will eventually be available for image search, will you be using some type of auto-tagging process to make the images findable by other users in the future?
PW - Tagging is required, as there is a bonus cash prize of $200 for the five photographers that upload the most photos (being at least 25 photographs) that are correctly tagged (the green tick appears on the photo) and have the most overall likes.? Right now not only the photographer, but every user can also add tags to every photo. In addition to that we use machine learning from three different sources to help tag the images that are uploaded.

JP - Will people who have not uploaded images be able to go on the site and “like” images as part of the judging?
PW - Yes.  Anyone who is a member of PicHit is welcome, or even encouraged to go in and like, tag and curate images and add their expertise and opinion in any other way.  We are a free trade photo market.
    (JP – Eventually, they hope to develop a system for compensating people who tag images created by others. No additional compensation will be given for tagging ones own images.)
JP - Will there by any way for people who want to see all the images available in a particular category (say tigers) to look at just that subject and like those they think are the best?
PW - Right now, this is only possible through our search function and within missions. The photos are then sorted into categories which show up on our Office 365 app.  However, our tech team is already working on enhancing this.

JP - It is my understanding that just by entering the competition the photographer’s images become available for future licensing and remain available for licensing until the photographer removes them. Is that true?
PW - When the photographer posts to PicHit they are giving photo users the chance to use their images in any way they desire. However, the right of the photo stays with the photographer, until they decide to either take the image down from the site, or sell the rights to the image to another party, via our site or in another market.

JP - Will you be running regular contests and will they be more narrowly focused as a way of building segments of your collection?
PW - Yes, we have such plans in the future, like our current contest together with the fitness brand ICANIWILL which focuses on fitness and health.  We are in the process of expanding this right now.

JP - Will customers be able to propose contests (some of the other crowdsourcing sites call them missions)?
PW - Yes, you are able to launch a mission right now through our Office 365 app or through one of the mobile applications and set a reward of your choice.  This has always been at the core of what we do.

JP - Will you be making subscriptions available to customers who are not Microsoft Office users, or will these images only be available through the new version of office?
PW - Yes, subscription and download of images is now available through the website.
JP - Will there be any system for licensing use of certain images, for certain expanded uses at higher prices, or will all uses be through subscriptions?
PW - We already allow photographers to sell their images through our site and receive 100% of the proceeds – we charge the buyer a service fee for this.

Copyright © 2015 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:  


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