Stock Photo Prices - Television

Posted on 9/5/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The demand for photos used in television programs is growing as the amount of cable and satellite programming increases and technology becomes more sophisticated. It is still important to distinguish editorial television and TV commercial. Editorial television is any program where information is being given, but no product is being sold. Whereas, an image used in a TV commercial is directly helping to sell a product.

Editorial Television News Program

Use Local Regional National
Single Screen Exposure 450 756 900
TV Show Backdrop 1238 2079 2475
All number prices in U.S. dollars

Note: The prices above are for one airing of the program.
    The backdrop time limit should be for two years.
    Charge an additional 75% for an additional two years.
    Charge an additional 75% for multiple airings of a single image on the company's news programs during a single 24-hour period. Airings on additional days are entitled to an additional first use fee.
Editorial Television – Cable and Documentary Program

In the past, it may have been easier to price photos for editorial television as most editorial programs would only air once or twice. However, with the increasing number of cable channels producing programs to air multiple times over years, it can be much more difficult to estimate the number of times an image will be seen on screen.

Use Local National
2 years unlimited airings 200 300
All number prices in U.S. dollars

TV Spot Commercial

Television advertising is usually purchased in 13-week cycles, and then the commercial is seen multiple times throughout the 13 weeks. It is also important to note if the commercial is being seen nationally, regionally or locally.

  One 13-week cycle Two 13-week cycles
National 1000 1600
Regional 660 1056
Local 400 640
Test (in house only) 220  
All number prices in U.S. dollars

Note: How important a part the image plays in the overall commercial, and who the client is, will affect the amount that might be charged in this instance.
    Three or more cycles - For each cycle over two add 50% to the "One 13-week cycle" number.
    More than one use in the same commercial - Add 50% to the base number.
Each additional photo in a commercial:
  • 15% reduction for the base number per image for images 4 through 6 -- 85% of the base price for each.
  • 30% reduction of base number per image for images 7 through 20 -- 70% of the base price for each.

One year unlimited - Add 150% to base number. Images used in an info-mercial:
    An info-mercial is a scheduled program (usually 1/2 hour or a full hour used to sell a product or service. Aside from the difference in time from a 30 second commercial break, infomercials can be very effective marketing tools because they usually have a captive audience.Similar to a trade show, any viewer that tunes into an info-mercial probably already has some interest in the product or they would watch something else.
    To price an image used in an info-mercial use the prices above and add 15%.

Readers might also want to take a look at Gray Crabbe's recommendations at:


In the event that you want to discuss the specifics of a particular use Jim Pickerell is available for telephone consultations at 301-251-0720. The fee for such consultations is $2.50 per minute. Most only take a few minutes.

Copyright © 2008 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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