What Getty Customers Need

Posted on 4/12/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

In recent seminars and webinars Getty provided contributors with information about buyer activity and tried to help them understand what customers need.

One of the most important bits of information was that Getty is currently licensing rights to 10 RF images for every 1 RM. For years the average licensing fee for an RM image has been about 2.5 times that of an RF image. While the royalty share of an RM sale tends to be higher than an RF sale (about 35% to 20%) at a 10 to 1 ratio creators are likely to earn significantly more licensing their images as RF than as RM.

The default search on the Creative section of gettyimages.com delivers RF images only and that certainly goes a long way to explaining the high percentage of RF sales. Other easy search options to find are Prestige (a select group of the RM images) and All which shows a mixture of RF and RM. It is possible to see just RM images, if that’s what the customer wants, but finding that search option is more difficult.

    Note: After my initial publication of this story, I was told that when a customer who has purchased some RM in the past does a search the default search for that customer is "All." This means that about half the images shown that customer are RM and the rest are RF. Of course new customers, and those who have only purchased RF in the past, are only shown RF images.
In addition, the segment of the collection that is RM has been steadily declining as more and more RF images are being added. In the 2008-2009 period the collection was about evenly split between RM and RF. A couple years ago the RM segment was down to about 40% and now it may be in the 20% to 25% range.

Another advantage of RF for the contributor is that it is easier to get RF images represented by multiple channels. Getty wants all of its RM to be exclusive. In fact, Image Source has just told its photographers that "Getty has decided they will no longer license Non-Exclusive RM content and so they have removed the Cultura RM collection from their site." It is unclear whether Getty is removing all the non-exclusive RM of other brands as well.

In 2014 after analyzing a significant number of Getty 2013 sales we determined that the average price of an RM license was $299 and the average price of RF was $133. Recently we had the opportunity to examine all of the 2015 RF sales of a major Getty contributor and the average price for RF had dropped to $86. It was suggested in the Getty webinar that the average price for RF is about $100. A big reason for these low prices is that well over 50% of the RF images are licensed for prices of less than $25.

It is worth noting that back in 2006, when Getty was publicly reporting numbers, that the average RM license was $536 and the average RF license was $292.
    Note: Also check out "RM vs RF: Which Strategy Earns The Most Money" at this link.

What’s In Demand

Family is number 1 search term in creative. Women is also a top search term. In business situations it is important to add the keywords “freelancer,” “startup” and “entrepreneur” whenever appropriate.

There is increasing demand for seniors as entrepreneurs or active in small businesses. There is an increasing need for shots from above or looking down of all subjects.

The top searched concept terms

  RF Images RM Images
Innovation 21,962 10,518
Success 219,737 44,279
Connection 312,176 90,916
Cooperation 266,539 59,375
Inspiration 436,432 157,450
Community 69,085 35,247
Planning 109,535 19,018
Change 87,668 26,136
Motion 421,388 189,772
Direction 191,275 143,788
  2,135,797 776,499

But Getty already has a significant number of images in each of these subject categories. What they don’t tell creators is which of the images in these subject areas are selling and how frequently. That’s the kind of information creators need if they are going to take the time to shoot more of these subjects.

If a photographer is going to shoot something anyway and can legitimately add some of these keywords, maybe that will help sell the images. It can’t hurt. But this information alone doesn’t help much in deciding what to shoot. A lot will depend on the other search terms used in conjunction with these concept keywords.

The following chart lists some of the search terms where demand increased significantly in 2015 compared to 2014. I have listed the term, the percent of increase and the number of RF and RM images delivered when using these keywords.

  Increase RF RM
  In Search Images Images
Smart home technology 975% 1,167 53
Uber 1390% 246 9
Virtual Reality 3400% 9,128 1,467
Wearable technology 11765% 1,340 202
Active Seniors 53% 165,544 49,912
Volunteerism 275% 4,741 846
Mentorship 369% 4,245 1,414
Corporate Responibility 147% 1,962 482
Small Business 373% 53,245 27,039
Contactless Payment 273% 167 5
Start Ups 158% 32,186 1,642
Freelancer 132% 4,131 135
Female Sport 133% 206,087 67,475
Female STEM education 126% 158 10
women business 772% 318,046 65,923
women entrepreneur 200% 18,481 2,164
same sex family 125% 1,242 265
same sex couple 500% 6,635 2,190
same sex wedding 67% 366 217
mixed race family 208% 41,267 8,729
stay at home father 450% 1,037 192
Dads changing diapers 700% 109 42
Conference speaker 140% 1,101 234
Music festival 97% 4,391 2,735
    877,022 233,382

Percent increases in search aren’t particularly helpful unless we have some idea of how many searches there were during the initial period and how many searches resulted in an actual sale.

For example, suppose there were 10 searches for “Uber” in 2014. A 1390% increase would mean that there were 139 searches in 2015. However, we have no idea how many, if any, images were actually purchased during the time period. Were the increases in purchases about the same as the increases in searches, or basically was there no increase because the customers couldn’t find anything useful.

If you can’t see what some customers have purchased it is hard to tell exactly what they were looking for when they used this search term. If you do this search you’ll find that most of the images are of men or women standing outside using a cell phone. They could be calling anyone for any purpose. What is the customer who uses this search term looking for?

The same is true of “wearable technology.” What does the customer have in mind and did a 11765% increase in searches generate much in the way of sales? If there were 10 searches in 2014 that would mean there were almost 1200 in 2015. Could the lack of useful data be the reason why photographers produce so many crazy images to illustrate certain concepts?

The other important thing to know when making a decision as to what subject matter to seek out and shoot is some idea of the revenue generated from these sales.
A lot of sales doesn’t necessarily help if most them were low priced RF sales. In an analysis I did of some Getty sales one-third of the RF sales were for prices above $25 and two-thirds were for prices below $25. The average price for the bottom two-thirds was $4.00.

Suppose that 40 of your sales are for $4.00 or less. Is it better to make 1 RM or RF sale for $200 or more? Volume is not that important without having some idea of average price. Some information is better than none, but inadequate information may be of little value and possibly misleading when it comes to making decisions about what to shoot.

Copyright © 2016 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 www.selling-stock.com, 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: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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