Shutterstock Q1 2018 Financial Results

Posted on 4/26/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Shutterstock has reported Q1 2018 revenue of $153 million up $22.8 million compared to $130.2 million in Q1 2017. On a constant currency basis revenue grew about 12.8% compared to the first quarter of 2017. The revenue was also up $1.8 million from Q4 2017. Revenue per download averaged $3.40 per image, an increase of 16.8%  over Q1 2017.

Total downloads for Q1 were 43.7 million, up from 43.5 million a year earlier. At the end of the quarter they had 186.9 million images and 9.9 million videos in their collection. Compared to the previous year the image collection expanded by 41.6% and the video collection expanded by 45.1%.

Revenue generated through its e-commerce platform increased approximately 11.3% to $89.7 million as compared to the first quarter of 2017. E-commerce represented 58.6% of total revenue in the first quarter of 2018. Revenue from enterprise customers increased approximately 31.2% to $60.6 million compared to 2017. Enterprise revenue represented 39.6% of total revenue for the quarter.

On February 26, 2018, Shutterstock completed a sale of Webdam to Bynder for an aggregate purchase price of $49.1 million, payable in cash. The company purchased Webdam in March 2014 for $14.4 million. Revenue from Webdam for the period from January 1, 2018 to February 26, 2018 was $2.7 million compared to revenue for the full Q1 2017 of $3.5 million.

About 26.4% of revenue, or roughly $40.4 million, was paid out in royalties to contributors. At the beginning of 2018 Shutterstock said they had 250,000 contributors which would mean that the average contributor earned $161.60 from Shutterstock during the quarter.

At the end of the quarter Shutterstock had about 1.8 million customers meaning that the average customer spent $22.44 with Shutterstock during the quarter. Obviously, many customers purchased nothing during the quarter.

Future Outlook

The full year guidance for 2018 remains at $625 and $635 million or about 13% growth compared to 12.7% growth in 2017. There has been no change in the guidance since the first of the year. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be $105 to $110 million, representing growth of approximately 19% to 25%.

Investors were not happy with Q1 results. At the end of the day Shutterstock was trading at $44.75 down $5.61 (11.79%) a share from its close the previous day. The stock has lost almost all of its growth since January 2, 2018 when it was trading at $43.48. On April 19, 2018 the stock was trading and $51.85.


The chart below shows some of the trends in downloads, images in the collection and revenue growth since Q3 2015. Video downloads are not included in this calculation. (For earlier data going back to Q2 2013 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
  2015 2016 2016 2016 2016 2017 2017 2017 2017 2018
Downloads (millions) 39.8 41.2 43.4 41.2 41.1 43.5 42.7 41.9 43.9 43.7
Rev.per DL $2.86 $2.77 $2.81 $2.91 $3.02 $2.96 $3.05 $3.23 $3.33 $3.40
Images in collection 71.4 81.0 92.1 102.7 116.2 132 144.7 155.8 170.1 186.9
Total Rev. (millions) $115.9 $116.7 $124.3 $123.1 $130.2 $130.2 $134.0 $141.1 $151.8 $153
Rev/Image $1.62 $1.44 $1.34 $1.20 $1.12 $0.98 $0.93 $0.90 $0.89 $0.81
% Image Lic 56% 51% 47% 40% 35% 32% 30% 26% 25% 23%
    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 2015 on average he would have had 560 downloads in that quarter. In Q1 2018 a collection with 1,000 image would have only had 230 downloads. Back in Q2 2013 a contributor with a 1,000 image collection could have expected to see 870 downloads in a quarter.
It is interesting that the average revenue per download keeps going up quarter-to-quarter while the total number of downloads-per-quarter is very flat. We think there are two reasons for this. First, Shutterstock is selling many more video clips than was previously the case. These are licensed at much higher prices than still images and each license is counted as one download.

Secondly, while the lower prices packs introduced in the past year have higher per-image prices, many customers are finding that they don't need 350 or 750 image packs and that the smaller image packs better fit their needs. These customers are paying more per image used, but they are actually getting all the images they need for less overall spend. 

Sales Breakdown

About 34% of sales were in the U.S. with roughly 33.7% in Europe and 32.3% in Asia/Pacific and Latin America combined. These percentages are very similar to what the breakdown has been for some time.

Expense Increases

Sales and Marketing expenses were about 26% of total revenue. These costs were split roughly equally between branded performance marketing and the personnel costs of those charged with working with the Enterprise customers. These costs increased about 28% compared to Q1 2017.

Product and Development costs were 53% higher in Q1 2018 than in Q1 2017. This was mostly the result of higher personnel and consulting costs involved in re-engineering the company's platform in order to better service customers and make better and more efficient use of the data they are collecting.

General and Administrative Expenses were up 15% in Q1 2018 compared to Q1 2017.

Copyright © 2018 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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