Shutterstock Q4 2020 Financial Results

Posted on 2/11/2021 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Shutterstock has reported Q4 2020 revenue of $180.9 million up 9% compared to $166.4 million in Q4 2019 and up from $165.2 million the previous quarter. Revenue per download was $3.91 per-image compared to $3.44 in Q4 2019 and $3.79 the previous quarter. The average revenue per download for all of 2020 was $3.68 compared with $3.43 for all of 2019.??

Total image and video downloads for Q4 were 45.8 million compared to 47.7 million a year earlier and up from 43.4 million from the previous quarter. At the end of the quarter Shutterstock had over 360 million images and 21 million video clips in its collection, for a total of 381 million pieces of content.

It is interesting to note that in searching the collection today Shutterstock has 230,242,056 photos, 119,381,607, illustrations, 20,577,671 footage clips and 12,870 music tracks for a total of 370,214,204 pieces of content. Shutterstock also says that they have 75,461,980 vectors. Presumably the vectors are included in the illustrations category, meaning that they have approximately 43,919,627 illustrations that are not vectors. Thus, 62.2% of the pieces of content in the collection are photos, 32.2% illustration and 5.5% footage.

The company does not provide information on the percentage of total downloads in each of these five categories. It would be helpful to image creators if information regarding sales trends of each of these collections were provided. Are 62% of all pieces of content licensed photos? Is it more or less? As we look at advertising and various media uses it appears that more illustration and fewer photos are being used. While such intelligence would be useful to Image creators, currently they are required to guess at whether or not there is a demand shift.

Overall (see chart) downloads declined 4% in 2020 compared to 2019. We suspect that the much of the explanation for the almost 14% rise in the average price per download to $3.91 n the last quarter has been due to a significant increase in the percent of footage clips licensed relative to still images. It would be helpful to image creators to know if that is the case. The fee for 5 footage clips is $99 while customers can get up to 10 photos or illustrations for only $49 per month. Yet when it comes to reporting downloads they are considered equal.

It is also unclear whether images in the free trial promotion that allows new customers to download up to 10 photos or illustrations at no cost are included when counting total images downloads. We believe they are because we believe image creators are being compensated when one of their images is downloaded in a free trial. It would be helpful to know the percentage of total downloads that are unpaid and how that is trending.

Another area where there may be come confusion in the figures provided is the sale of Editorial images from the REX, EPA and AP collections. There are over 50 million news, sports, entertainment and archival images in these collections and over 20,000 new images are added daily. These images certainly aren’t counted among the 381 million pieces of content they say they represent. The fees for use one of these editorial images are $99 for a single image or $199 for an image pack that allows the use of up to 25 images.

We suspect that any revenue generated from the licensing of such images is included in the gross revenue reported. That could cause the revenue per download figure to be higher than for photos and illustrations alone.

These figures may tell investors all they need to know, but they are of limited value to image creators.

In the last quarter E-commerce revenue was $111.8 million and represented 62% of total revenue.  Enterprise revenue was about $69.1 million and represented 38% of total Q4 revenue. Compared to Q4 2019 E-commerce revenue increased about 11% and Enterprise increased by approximately 6%. ??

The number of subscribers increased to 281,000 compared to 194,000 in Q4 2019. Subscribers are defined as those customers who purchase one or more monthly subscriptions for a continuous period of at least three months, measured as of the end of the reporting period. Subscriber revenue was $236.5 million in 2019 and $265.3 million in 2020.

Revenue for all of 2020 was $666.68 million, up 2% from the $650.52 million in 2019. It is important to note that subscriber revenue in 2019 was 36.4% of total revenue in 2019 and rose 3.4% to 39.8% in 2020. In 2020 the average subscriber paid Shutterstock $944.18 for access to the imagery they needed.

Commenting on the Company's performance, Stan Pavlovsky, the Company's Chief Executive Officer, said, "Shutterstock had an exceptionally strong finish to 2020, with revenue growth acceleration across all geographies and channels, including a return to growth in our Enterprise channel. The momentum we have exhibited in evolving our business towards a subscription model is encouraging and I believe we are well positioned heading into 2021.

"I am also excited to welcome the TurboSquid family to our organization. With their blue-chip customer base, extensive network of 3D contributors and the expanding use cases for 3D, AR and VR, I believe this acquisition will generate valuable synergies and additional growth opportunities for our business."

For more information check out the Interactive Investor Relations Microsite.


The chart below shows some of the trends in downloads, images in the collection and revenue growth since Q2 2018. Video downloads are included in this calculation. (For earlier data going back to Q2 2016 see here.  The “Rev Per DL” is the “Downloads” times the “Avg Rev per DL.” This differs slightly from “Total Rev.” because a small percentage of revenue comes from other activities not associated with stock content downloads. 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.

  Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
  2018 2018 2019 2019 2019 2019 2020 2020 2020 2020
Downloads (millions) 43.9 46.8 47.2 46.6 46.3 47.7 46.8 44 43.4 45.8
Avg Rev per DL $3.40 $3.40 $3.42 $3.44 $3.40 $3.44 $3.42 $3.61 $3.79 $3.91
Images in collection 221 242 260 280 297 314 330 340 350 360
Video in collection 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Total Rev. (millions) $151.6 $162.1 $163.3 $161.7 $159.1 $166.4 $161.3 $159.2 $165.2 $180.9
Rev. Per DL (millio $149.26 $159.10 $161.42 $160.30 $157.42 $163.06 $160.05 $158.54 $164.49 $179.08
Rev/Image $0.65 $0.62 $0.59 $0.54 $0.51 $0.50 $0.46 $0.44 $0.45 $0.47
% Image Lic 18% 18% 17% 15% 14.8% 14.4% 13.4% 12.3% 11.7% 12%

    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 Q3 2018 on average he would have had 180 downloads in the quarter. In Q4 2020 a collection with 1,000 image would only have had 120 downloads. Back in Q4 2013 a contributor with a 1,000 image collection could have expected to see 860 downloads in a quarter.

Net Income and Income per diluted share for Q4

Net income of $25.9 million, increased $21.5 million as compared to $4.4 million for the fourth quarter in 2019. Net income per diluted share was $0.70, as compared to $0.12 for the same period in 2019. This increase is due primarily to our margin expansion initiatives, which have resulted in lower operating expenses, and, in part, to our increased revenue in the fourth quarter of 2020, as compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

Adjusted net income per diluted share was $0.93 as compared to $0.26 for the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of $0.67 per diluted share.



Full year revenue of $666.7 million increased $16.2 million or 2% as compared to 2019.  Revenue generated through our E-commerce sales channel increased 5% as compared to the full year 2019, to $412.5 million and represented 62% of total revenue in 2020. Revenue from our Enterprise sales channel decreased 2% as compared to 2019, to $254.2 million and represented 38% of total revenue in 2020.
Foreign currency fluctuations did not have a significant impact on full year 2020 revenues.

Net income and Income per diluted share

Net income of $71.8 million increased $51.7 million as compared to $20.1 million for the full year 2019. Net income per diluted share was $1.97 as compared to $0.57 for the full year 2019. This increase is primarily due our margin expansion initiatives, which have resulted in lower operating expenses, and, in part, to our increased revenue in 2020, as compared to 2019.
Adjusted net income per diluted share of $2.62 increased by $1.39, as compared to $1.23 for the full year 2019.

Adjusted EBITDA

Adjusted EBITDA of $154.9 million for 2020 increased $58.6 million or 61% as compared to the full year 2019, due primarily to our margin expansion initiatives, which have resulted in lower operating expenses, and, in part, to our increased revenue in 2020, as compared to 2019. 


For the full year 2020, our cash and cash equivalents increased by $125.3 million to $428.6 million at December 31, 2020, as compared with $303.3 million as of December 31, 2019. This increase was driven by $165.1 million of net cash provided by our operating activities partially offset by $35.3 million used in investing activities and $4.6 million used in financing activities. Net cash provided by our operating activities was favorably affected by our increased operating income, in addition to changes in the timing of payments pertaining to operating expenses.

Cash used in investing activities primarily consists of $25.6 million related to capital expenditures, an investment of $5.0 million in a creative production and analytics platform, $3.0 million paid to acquire the rights to distribute certain digital content and $1.9 million associated with the acquisition of artificial intelligence driven music technology. Cash used in financing activities consists primarily of $24.4 million related to the payment of the quarterly cash dividends and $4.5 million paid in settlement of tax withholding obligations related to employee stock-based compensation awards, partially offset by $23.2 million of net proceeds from our Stock Offering, discussed below.

Free cash flow was $144.2 million for the full year 2020, an increase of $71.0 million from the full year 2019. This change was primarily driven by higher cash flows from operating activities.

Copyright © 2021 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


  • Thomas Wear Posted Feb 11, 2021
    Interesting that they maintained a pretty solid revenue in such a messed-up year.
    I see the 2020 downloads are below 2019 levels but the revenue is up. I guess they timed cutting their commissions pretty well.

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