80 UNITED KINGDOM PRICING
July 8, 1997
As the stock photo business becomes more controlled by companies in the United Kingdom, it is worth examining some of the differences between the European and U.S. approaches to the stock business. One of those is pricing.
For a long time, photographers who sell through overseas agencies and carefully examine their sales reports have noted that payments from the U.K. seem to be much lower than those from other developed countries. Some show that the average gross sale price is less than half the U.S. average sale price.
As we did our research for the United Kingdom section of the 4th edition of Negotiating Stock Photo Prices that is just completed, we uncovered some interesting information.
To begin with, book publishing in particular and other editorial uses in general are a much larger segment of the total market in the U.K. than they are here in the U.S.
Thus, in the U.K. there are fewer of the high end users and a many more low end users than here in the U.S. Even then, there are great discrepancies in the pricing.
The comparative rates for Trade Books with under 40,000 circulation and calculating each pound Sterling equal to $1.69 is:
1/4 page $200 $125
1/2 page 240 165
3/4 page 380 202
full page 320 254
double page 640 380
cover 700 510
This is bad enough, but from what we are told bulk deals at deep discounts below these prices are very common. It is not uncommon to find a high percentage of usage fees under $100.
It should be noted also that this is the United Kingdom, not the rest of Europe. Germany and France often have higher fees in every usage category than here in the U.S. And even Norway and Spain often pay more than the U.K.
In the U.K. they also tend not to take circulation into account as much as we do here in the U.S. The worse situation is in advertising where they basically have two circulation categories - Provinicial & Trade magazines, and National Newspapers & Major Magazines.
The rates most organizations seem to charge are roughly equivalent for what we, here in the U.S., would charge for a circulation under 50,000 copies. Obviously, if the publication has a larger circulation it is getting a real break on the price compared to what we might charge here in the U.S.
Of course any fee listed in a pricing guide is negotiable. The listed fees are not charged by every seller in every instance in either the U.S. or the U.K. But it is our impression that the competitive situation in the U.K. is very fierce, and that it is even more common to discount standard prices there than it is here.
The U.K does charge higher percentages than we do here in the U.S. for the first insertion price for additional insertions of the same ad. However, because they are starting from such a low base, the higher percentages seldom bring the total fee up to what we would get for the same type of usage here in the U.S.
When they are talking about editorial content they divide magazines into four or five different circulation categories. But, for British publications the fee for a quarter page use ranges from about $75 and $120 from the lowest to the highest circulation.
If the publication is a foreign magazine the 1/4 page price goes up to $120 for the lowest circulation and almost $200 for the highest circulation.
Things To Think About
- Given the prices they are getting it is easy to see why agencies argue that they need a higher percentage of the gross sale to survive and make a profit.
- U.S. photographers need to consider whether they can afford to supply images for marketing in the U.K at these prices.
- As control of the entire stock business moves to the United Kingdom, their philosophy and approach to the business may become more prevalent in other countries.