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The stock photography business has changed dramatically from what it was five or ten years ago and the future does and the future does not look promising. In this article we’ve provided links to a number of previously published articles that provide a good overview of the industry and where we believe it is headed. If the reader wants to get a basic grounding in what stock photography is all about this is the place to start.
just released the following to the press cautioning image user to be careful about grabbing images off the Internet because they could be “violating someone’s copyright.” To aid users in protecting themselves Dreamstime offers a collection of images at Stockfreeimages.com
With Stocksy (http://www.stocksy.com/
) Bruce Livingstone has set out to produce a collection of “authentic” stock images unlike anything customers will be able to find anywhere else. When he uses the work authentic he means a photograph that doesn’t look staged, pretend, forced or unrealistic. Images can be processed, but the processing must match the content. It’s not Instagram. Bruce took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.
Shutterstock has reported a record 22.3 million downloads and $51.5 million in revenue in Q1 2013. Revenue per download grew 8% year-over-year to $2.29. The Shutterstock collection has grown to more than 25 million images and over 1 million video clips. Revenue is expected to grow in Q2 to between $53 million and $55 million. For all of 2013 revenue is now projected to be between $221 million and $226 million. EBITDA is projected to be between $46 million and $48 million.
Since the fall of 2012 iStockphoto had been accepting pictures taken with mobile devices. Currently they have 7433 images on the site. So far, they do not allow contributors to upload their photos directly from their mobile devices. It is not clear whether they are accepting images from contributors who only shoot with a camera phone, or whether they are just encouraging their regular contributors to also submit some images they shoot with their phones.
has announced plans to launch Offset
, a new RF offering of premium, high-end stock photos and illustrations. Currently the curated collection is in private beta. A public launch will follow later this year.
Bruce Livingstone founder of iStockphoto has launched Stocksy.com
. Stocksy has been designed as a co-op and pays photographers a 50% royalty on each sale. At the end of the year, the company divides 90% of its profits equally among contributors and other shareholders.
has created Clashot.com
, a platform that allows image creators using mobile devices to share their images and potentially earn revenue from some of them.
. has acquired the assets of Pixmac, a leading stock imagery network based in the Czech Republic. With millions of stock photos and illustrations distributed in 17 languages and in multiple currencies, the acquisition of Pixmac accelerates Pond5’s strategy to offer a global marketplace where media makers can connect with fellow artists.
In its quarterly conference call Shutterstock reported revenue of $169.2
million for the full year of 2012, a 41% increase over the $120.3 million in 2011. Fourth quarter revenue was $49.2 million, a 42% increase over Q4 2011. Looking ahead, the company expects to see revenue of between $48.5 and $50.5 million in Q1 2013, and for the full year revenue in the range of $213 to $219
million. Shutterstock stock (SSTK) closed at $32.88, up 17.22% on Friday.
Most photographers are focused on how much they can charge for their images. The higher the price the happier they are. This is true, not just of RM photographers who want to retain the ability to negotiate on every sale depending on the importance and significance of the usage. It is also true of Microstock photographers as their distributors continue to push up prices. (Check out this story
blog conducts an annual survey of microstock contributors. The survey always receives a very high number of responses compared to other photographer surveys. This year 708 contributors supplied information. MicrostockGroup has posted an infographic
that highlights some of the more interesting information from the 2012 Microstock Industry Survey.
Many photographers that license their images at RM and traditional RF prices still believe microstock images are being licensed for $1.00. For the most part nothing could be further from the truth. Consider these price comparisons for images on 7 different microstock sites with the average price for an RM or RF sale on Getty Images. You'll be surprised!
Several major image producers that license their work through microstock distributors have told me that their revenue from iStockphoto
(FT) and Dreamstime
(DT) was down 25% to 30% in 2012 compared to 2011. What’s more, based on current trends they are predicting 2013 revenue will be down 35% to 45% compared to 2011.
Getty has given Sean Locke and Rob Sylvan notice that their iStockphoto contracts will be terminated in 30 days. Locke is one of the 5 top iStockphoto contributors with over 12,000 images in his collection and close to a million downloads of his images. Sylvan is author of “Taking Stock,” worked on the iStock staff for many years and has helped thousands of photographers build and improve their microstock businesses.
The Global Stock Image Market Research Group (GSIMRG) in Heidelberg, Germany has just released a report on the extensive study of the stock photo industry
that it conducted in 2012. They concluded that the stock photo industry generated $2.88 billion in revenue in 2012. Based on their figures I think image licensing is much less. Their report, and my commentary in this article, is a must read for anyone engaged in the stock photo business.
Serban Enache, CEO of Dreamstime has explained in a blog post
how Google’s new image search techniques make it more likely that unauthorized use of your images will increase. Every image producer should read this story.
There is increasing dissatisfaction among iSockphoto contributors as a result of Googlegate
, and other recent moves by iStock. Many of the approximately 5,000 exclusive contributors are exploring the option of giving up their exclusive and placing their images on multiple web sites. Shutterstock is actively pursuing iStock exclusive contributors and has created a direct email address, email@example.com
, to guide them through the signup and approval process.
Many who license their images at Rights Managed or traditional Royalty Free prices believe it is impossible to earn significant revenue licensing images at microstock prices. This article offers some comparative analysis.
Jon Oringer, CEO of Shutterstock, has written a very interesting piece
about why being exclusive with one distributor doesn’t work for microstock photographers. I agree with his conclusion, but disagree with one of his major arguments.
In the growing clamor and uproar about the free images available through Google Drive Rick Becker-Leckrone, CEO of Blend Images, made some points on the Stockphoto blog
that are worth examining. See the previous article
for more background.
This is the third in a series of articles on the image collection that is available to Google Drive users. (It looks like there may be many more articles as more details unfold.) To see the first two articles go here
. This is not just a microstock issue. Hundreds of traditionally priced RF images are involved.
iStock has provided an explanation on Google Drive issues described in my previous post
. The following was posted on the iStock forum late yesterday.
Sean Locke (one of iStock’s highest earning contributors) discovered recently that some of his best selling images are now available on GoogleDrive for FREE
. There is a major thread in the iStock forum
. I’ll try to summarize what seems to be known so far.
Recently several subscribers have asked questions, the answers to which might be of interest to all subscribers. So I’ve decided to share the questions and my answers here.