11 Future of Clip Photography
How is clip photography doing? Very well, according to a
market research study done by Future Image Inc. of Burlingame, CA.
In their report called The Royalty-Free Image Business they say there
were over 2,050,590 "clip photo" photo discs sold in 1994 for
a total retail sales price of over $53 million.
Most of these were sold in the United States, although the predictions were,
and the indications are, that the overseas market will grow as well in 1995.
I estimate that about $300 million worth of stock photography is sold annually
in the U.S. That means that "clip photo" sales in the U.S. in
1994 were about 1/6th (one sixth) of the traditional stock photography sales.
The estimates in the report were that royalty free sales would double in
1995. According to some of my sources that seems to be taking place. This
means that an additional $100 million in content will have been purchased
before the end of this year.
In the early stages of development of the "clip disc" market,
producers argued that they were seeking new users of stock photography.
They said their discs would have little or no impact on the traditional
stock photography market.
In reality somewhere between 60% and 90% of these discs go to advertising
agencies, graphic design firms and multi-media producers -- our traditional
Comparatively little penetration is being made into the home and education
markets. When there are sales it seems to be mostly for the discs that are
priced in the $10 to $20 range, such as those produced by Corel.
West Stock argues that "clip photo" images have not, and will
not, hurt the traditional stock photo market because so far West Stock's
traditional sales are increasing. Major stock agencies are also seeing traditional
My belief is that sales increase are the result of major agencies taking
market share from the minor agencies and that there is little, if any, overall
growth in the market.
(While the authors of the report divided products into those discs that
sell for under $99 and those that sell for over $99, in fact many of the
high end discs sell for $200 or more and most of the low end discs sell
in the $5 to $30 range.)
Photo buyers are experimenting with "clip discs." They have purchased
clip discs to determine what is available and when it is practical to use
these images. In the near future they will begin to figure out how they
can design around the content they own. It may take a while. A few of them
will lose money on their purchases. But many will figure out how to take
advantage of this inexpensive source of imagery for projects with low budgets.
If you examine these discs it is easy to see how much of the content could
be used to replace some of the average images art directors are buying.
The potential savings provide a tremendous incentive for art directors to
learn how to use these discs.
Corel Corporation has produced 420 titles with 100 images per disc. Corel's
recent ads say they have shipped 10 million discs, but that could include
graphic arts and game discs that they produce, as well as clip photos.
With Corel you can purchase a variety of discount packages. You can get
20,000 images for $995 or $.05 per image ($5.00 per disc.)
The other two big producers are Photo Disc in Seattle and Digital Stock
in Southern California (Don't confuse Digital Stock with our company Digital
Stock Connection which is producing catalog discs, not clip discs.) Both
of these companies sell discs with several hundred images for prices in
the range of $250 each.
They have good catalog discs that can be searched using keywords so you
know what is on the discs before you buy. Digital Stock sells their 3000
image catalog disc for $19.95.
Overall the image quality is not what you would get from Stock Market or
FPG, but if you find a picture you can use you can get it and a whole disc
full of others for $249.
To learn how to purchase the report for $1200 you may call Future Image
Inc. at 415-579-0493 in Burlingame, CA.