Shutterstock Q1 2017 Financial Results

Posted on 5/3/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Shutterstock has reported Q1 2017 revenue of $130.2 million. This revenue was up 12% from Q1 2016, but exactly the same as revenue in Q4 2016.

Revenue per download increased 7% from $2.77 in Q1 2016 to about $2.96. Revenue per download in Q4 2016 was $3.02. At the end of the quarter there were 132 million images in the collection and 6.9 million video clips. This was up from 116.2 million images at the end of 2016.

The company had 43.5 million paid downloads in the quarter up from 41.1 million in Q4 2014. Since the bulk of downloads are via subscription, and revenue did not grow in the quarter despite the increase in paid downloads, this may be an indication that an increasing number of subscription customers are taking advantage of Shutterstock’s lower subscription options announced in early February.

Now, rather than paying for higher priced subscription packages that provide many more images than they will ever use, customers are able to tailor their purchases to their actual needs and spend less money in the process. In addition, many Image On Demand customers may now be able to cut their costs with low priced 10 image subscriptions.

Contributor royalty payment were approximately 28% of revenue or $36.45 million. They have over 190,000 contributors.

After the quarterly conference call Shutterstock shares declined 6.45% from $43.71 at yesterday’s close to $41.08 at the end of trading today.


The chart below shows some of the trends in downloads, images in the collection and revenue growth since Q4 2014. Video downloads are not included in this calculation. (For earlier data going back to Q2 2012 see here.) The "Rev/Image" row is "the average revenue per image in the collection." For this figure I divide total revenue by the sum of still images.

  Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1
  2014 2015 2015 2015 2015 2016 2016 2016 2016 2017
Downloads (millions) 33.5 33.4 35.9 38.1 39.8 41.2 43.4 41.2 41.1 43.5
Rev.per DL $2.68 $2.87 $2.85 $2.76 $2.86 $2.77 $2.81 $2.91 $3.02 $2.96
Images in collection 46.8 51.6 57.2 63.7 71.4 81.0 92.1 102.7 116.2 132
Total Rev. (millions) $91.2 $97.5 $104.4 $107.3 $115.9 $116.7 $124.3 $123.1 $130.2 $130.2
Rev/Image $1.95 $1.89 $1.83 $1.68 $1.62 $1.44 $1.34 $1.20 $1.12 $0.98
% Image Lic 72% 65% 63% 60% 56% 51% 47% 40% 35% 32%

    The "% Image Lic” row measures the odds that a single image in the collection will have been licensed one time within the quarter. To arrive at this number, I divide the total downloads by the number of images in the collection at the end of the quarter. This number is significant because it shows that new images are being added at a much faster rate than image downloads are increasing. For example, if a contributor had 1,000 images in the collection in Q4 2014 on average he would have had 720 downloads in that quarter. In Q1 2017 a collection with 1,000 image would have only had 320 downloads.

Financial Outlook

The full year guidance is unchanged from that given in February. For all of 2017 the company expects revenue to between $545 and $560 million. This would place revenue growth for the year between 10% and 13%. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $105 and $110 million.

Enterprise Customers

At the end of the quarter Shutterstock had 1.7 million total customers. There was no update on the number of Enterprise customers which was reported at 36,000 at the end of 2016. The Enterprise customers were responsible for 32% of the total revenue or about $41.66 million. It is not clear whether Enterprise customers are counted in the same way as the “1.7 million” customers. Several individual users employed by the same Enterprise company may be given access to each Enterprise account. The 1.7 million may be the actual number of users, and not the number of unique accounts. This has never been made clear.


One of the major initiatives of the company for the last year or so has been a re-organization of the business. CEO Jon Oringer says that they no longer see their business as primarily an “image marketplace.” They have re-organized themselves to scale into new areas of business. They now have five customer-centric teams to better align themselves with the needs of their customers. The teams are:
    E-commerce – still image sales including Subscription and Image On Demand
    Enterprise – focused on teams and large organizations
    Motion – video and music
    Editorial – news, entertainment and sports content
    WebDam – digital asset management and workflow solutions
Oringer continued, "These strong metrics (referring to data provided earlier) are a result of the work we are doing to transition Shutterstock from a stock image marketplace to a broader platform that provides individuals and enterprises with the various content types and tools needed to collaboratively design, build, and distribute their creative projects."

Where Are The Customers

CFO Steven Berns said that 36% of customers are in the U.S. Of the other 64% “about half” (32% are in Europe and the other 32% are in Asia Pacific and Latin America. It was not clear whether the “36% in the U.S.” includes Canada. It is also not clear whether these figures are based on number of customers or revenue generated.

In August 2016 Berns said, “Currently 40% of our revenues are from customers in North America, 33% are from customers in Europe, and 27% from Asia/Pacific.” This breakdown doesn’t allocate any revenue for South America, Africa and the Middle East. Earlier he had indicated that 70% of revenue comes from outside the U.S. If this still holds true then about 10% of revenue comes from Canada and Mexico.

They have also provided figures in the past that indicated that as much as 9% of revenue came from South America. When asked later about the Asia/Pacific discrepancy the press office said, "27% was primarily Asia Pacific".

I suspect that the breakdown of revenue sources has remained relatively constant for the last several years.

Revenue Sources

Among the things that are very hard to determine based on Shutterstock’s reporting is whether the images in the BigStock and Rex collections are included in the total images count even though they represent an undisclosed part of the total revenue. It is unclear how many of the images from the Associated Press collection are included in the total image count.

It has also become very difficult to determine the portions of revenue that come from Image On Demand, Subscription, Video and Editorial and how the each may be changing in terms of revenue generation. This is important for understand future trends. When it comes to Enterprise customers we assume they all will have at least one subscription.

Back in 2014 and early 2015 Shutterstock provided a little more color on these aspects of the business, but nearly all of that kind of detail has now disappeared.

For readers who want to listen to Shutterstock Earnings Call here is a link.

Copyright © 2017 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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