Industy-Wide Survey

Posted on 2/8/2003 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



February 8, 2003

2003 Stock Picture Industry Survey

Sponsored by PACA

An ambitious new survey has just been launched that will attempt to finally resolve the
question of The Size of the Stock Image Market in the U.S. While sponsored by PACA,
(Picture Archive Council of America), an effort will be made to collect data from ALL
stock image sellers, regardless of affiliation, to determine the true size of the market and
its licensing trends.

TrendWatch Graphic Arts
( )
has been enlisted to collect,
tabulate and analyze the survey data and insure the confidentiality of all participants. TWGA
is a highly respected independent research firm that tabulates more than 50,000 surveys from
graphic communications industry respondents annually. It has a reputation for generating
solid industry statistics while protecting the proprietary information of the individual data

All persons and organizations that license stock pictures to end user clients, and have an
office located in either the United States or Canada are encouraged to participate. This
includes individual photographers and illustrators as well as agents representing them. "We
are actively seeking to include all the individuals and small companies that license stock
pictures, usually the 'missing' or silent segment of the industry," says Jeffrey Burke leader
of the PACA survey committee.

The Survey Questionnaire is available as a downloadable document and you can obtain your copy
at .

The deadline for submitting a completed questionnaire is March 5, 2003.

The questions have been designed to avoid double counting from photographers who receive some
income from direct sales to customers and other income from one or more stock agencies. It
will also separate income that agents make directly to customers from that received from
sub-agencies. This should insure reliable results.

Why You Should Participate?

The following are a few of the reasons why you should participate in this survey.

  • Only those who supply data will receive copies of the survey results. Provisions have
    been made for respondents to provide their e-mail address in order to receive survey results,
    however respondents can be assured that their individual numbers will not be divulged to
    anyone in the industry.

  • This survey will reveal the depth of Royalty Free penetration in the overall market
    and enable sellers of Rights Managed images to make judgements about future demand for the
    images they produce.

  • If image producers don't have some perspective on the size of their potential market
    they may be encouraged to make production decisions that are not in their best interest.

  • It is believed that all major sellers in North America will supply data for this
    survey. Most have been contacted and agreed to participate. One major question still
    unanswered is whether there is a significant market for the work handled by small agencies
    and individuals selling direct to the clients? This can only be answered if there is broad
    based participation by the smaller sellers. This survey makes it possible for everyone to
    have an answer to this question.

  • Does the worldwide industry generate $2 billion in sales annually, $1 billion or
    less? It makes a lot of difference because it tells you how dominant the major players are
    and what your chances are for sales growth if you are not represented by one of these major
    players. Breakdowns of the results will probably be provided for those whose archives
    generate revenue above a certain number annually, those archives that are below that number
    and those who are individual creators selling images directly to end users. This will enable
    you to compare your individual results with the average of those who are in a similar
    relative position in the market.

  • Given the rapid changes in the industry it is critical for each individual to have
    solid data about market conditions and trends on which to base future plans for production
    and marketing of new images.

  • Are individuals making serious money by licensing their stock images directly to end
    users? You'll learn averages here, but that is better than no information at all.

  • If there is an industry wide "baseline" of information then it will be easier for
    individuals to identify future trends and make meaningful adjustments in the way they

  • Solid industry data will aid photographers and photographer organizations in their
    negotiations with agents and portals.
    This industry has changed from one based on personal relationships to one where money talks.
    Photographers have never had a better chance to develop statistics that will help industry
    leaders understand photographers money issues.

  • Several Selling Stock subscribers encouraged us to ask more questions in our recent
    survey (the data is being collated now and will be reported in the near future) to get a
    better understanding of what is happening in the industry. This PACA sponsored survey answers
    that need. Unfortunately, Selling Stock will not be allowed to report the results as only
    participants will receive that information. You can get this very valuable industry
    information FREE by simply taking a few minutes to participate in the survey.

  • It's hard to get where you want to go if you don't even know where your are!

    Encourage your friends to participate as well.

  • Copyright © 2003 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 301-251-0720, 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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