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Image users on the MicrostockGroup
website report that Shutterstock has “dropped the price of single On Demand sales from 2 for $29 to $9.99 for each image.”
has released a new infographic
with information about how demand for certain subject matter is changing compared to a year ago. They have also included sample image in each category to give photographers a sense of what customers want.
has won the most images race with Alamy
. Shutterstock now has more than 60 million royalty-free images in its collection in addition to 3 million video and music clips for a total of over 63 million pieces of content.
For new readers, or those who may have missed some of what I have written over the last few months, the following are a list of stories worth looking at to get a sense of where the industry is headed.
Is Shutterstock in Serious Trouble?
On August 5th the SSTK stock price closed at $50.75. On August 6th the company announced its second quarter results
and missed the projected revenue for the quarter by 1.5%. On August 7th the stock closed at $33.65, a 34% decline in 2 days. NO!
The company is not in trouble. Rather, financial analysts that closely watch Shutterstock are finally waking up to the realities of the stock photo business.
reported $104.4 million in revenue for Q2 2015, a 30% increase over Q2 2014. However, they missed their projected revenue estimate by $960,000. Investors were disappointed and the stock that had been trading at $50.75 per share the day before dropped 32.20% to $34.41 before the market closed. The average price per download during the quarter was $2.85 down from $2.87 in the previous quarter, and compared to $2.52 in Q2 2014. There were 35.9 million downloads in the quarter and they paid out about 28% of gross revenue in royalties to contributors.
In the subscription environment customers pay for -- and the image creators receive a royalty for -- many images that are never used in any type of deliverable product. Nobody knows how many. Adobe Stock has changed all that. Now Adobe gives users free use
to any images considered during the users design and creative processes. Users only pay for the images that actually end up in a deliverable product. As a result, creators may begin to see a significant decline in the number of images licensed.
Subscription licensing is in for some dramatic changes. We know that a significant number of the images subscription customers download are used in the designer’s “creative process,” but never find their way into a deliverable end product. Traditionally, creators of all the images downloaded – whether used in a deliverable product or not – have received an equal royalty share of the revenue paid for the subscriptions.
has hired Scott Braut, formerly VP of Content at Shutterstock. He has been named Head of Content and will drive the company’s overall content strategy and operations for Creative Cloud
. Adobe says content is a strategic area of growth and focus as it builds a growing, strategic creative marketplace. Scott has over 20 years of experience in content licensing, product development, eCommerce, and digital media.
Hong Kong based Super Image Market
launched in November 2014 has established a simple “Pathway” for making images available to customers rather that operating as a traditional agency or distributor. Contributors establish the license fee for each of their images on an image-by-images basis. SIM pays them 80% of every sale. (During the initial launch period until the beginning of 2016 contributors will receive 100% of every sale.)
(SSTK) was under heavy pressure Tuesday (-7.2%) after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on the stock with an Underweight rating and a price target of $40. The company traded down 6.49% on Tuesday, hitting $52.33. About 6% (2,134,222 shares) of the company’s stock traded hands. Morgan Stanley analyst Dean Prissman said based on their proprietary AlphaWise study and bottom-up analysis, they believe Adobe's aggressive entry into Shutterstock's market is set to pressure growth.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from investors trying to assess the stock photo industry growth potential and figure out where Shutterstock, Adobe and Getty Images are headed. In general here is what I’ve been telling them.
An increasing number of iStock’s most productive contributors seem to be pulling back on their production of new images. Of the 430 photographers and illustrators we have been tracking for more than four years only 34% have added more than 100 images to their collections in the last six months. That leaves two-thirds of this group of contributors who have added fewer than 100 images or removed images from the collection.
Since 2009 I have been tracking the image downloads of some of iStock’s leading contributors. Beginning in 2012 I increased the number of individuals tracked on a semi-annual basis to 430. While 430 is only a small percentage of iStock’s total contributors which number more than 100,000 combined this small group has at least 55,479,000 downloads and given the way iStock reports these numbers possibly as many as 58,416,000 downloads. I believe these numbers represent about one-third of all iStock downloads since the company’s founding in 2002.
Downloads for 430 of iStock’s leading contributors have continued their steady decline in the first half of 2015. Getty had hoped that the launch of iStock subscriptions
in April 2014 and the launch in September 2014 of a single price for images
, regardless of the file size needed, would turn iStock’s fortunes around and bring customers back from its competitors. Neither strategy seems to have worked.
, has altered its subscription plans to feature a monthly instead of daily quota of downloadable images, and is allowing the carrying over of unused downloads. The company says, “users will now effectively never ‘lose’ image downloads as unused downloads will roll over into the monthly quota amount, making Dreamstime the most convenient and flexible solution in the industry today.”
Adobe has launched [St] Adobe Stock
as part of its Adobe Creative Cloud subscription offering. Creative Cloud customers are now able to launch Adobe Stock directly within CC desktop software such as Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop or After Effects, and add watermarked or licensed images to their Creative Cloud Libraries. This will allow them to access and work with images across multiple desktop tools.
Microsoft say that worldwide there are about 400 new powerpoint presentations being prepared each second. That works out to about 12.6 billion presentations a year. A significant percentage of them use multiple images. Some are the creator’s personal images. But the vast majority are grabbed from the Internet via Google, Bing, Flickr or somewhere else. If users paid even $1.00 for each image used in such presentations the annual gross revenue might be more than 5 times the revenue generated worldwide by the stock photo industry.
promotes itself as offering “FREE images” and says it has become an excellent source of photography, vector graphics, illustrations, clipart, handpicked bundles, and more for personal and business use.
has launched a new website that features professional, high quality images of nature, wildlife, and landscapes. Individual photos are available under royalty-free licenses at prices that range from $3 to $10 depending on the file size of the photo purchased.
has announced the release of Stock Photos by Dreamstime
, a new mobile phone app geared toward customers interested in purchasing and downloading images directly onto their smartphones and tablets. With the new mobile app, the Dreamstime team will be able to offer its popular, high quality digital images to an even greater range of on-the-go customers.
If you’re thinking about submitting images to Shutterstock you might want to check out the next ShutterTalk Live streaming workshop, “Preparing Your First Photo Submission
,” on Thursday, April 9 at 11am EST.
In August 2014 EyeEm
announced that it would be introducing a “Market” aspect to its social media site. Market has finally been launched. EyeEm was established in 2011 and currently has over 13 million users who post photos taken with their cell phones and comment on each other’s work. It is unclear how many images are on the site.
I’m getting more frequent requests from long/short hedge fund investors about Getty Images’ turnaround potential in 2015. Getty’s $550 million of 7 percent unsecured notes due in October 2020 are selling for approximately 50 cents on the dollar. Investors are trying to determine if that is a good price, or if they could go even lower. (Getty also has about $2 billion in additional debut.) Here’s some of what I tell them.
Stock Photo Secrets
has put together a list of 80 Stock PhotographyTrends For 2015
, In 2014 Stock Photo Secrets surveyed stock agencies and put together a list 50 trends
of the kinds of imagery customers were buying. This year 16 agencies responded with the 80 most popular subjects their customers are requesting and using.