Pricing

Lower Prices: Last Thing Industry Needs

By Jim Pickerell | 864 Words | Posted 10/23/2018 | Comments
The last thing this industry needs is lower prices. However, it often seems that whenever someone wants to start a new business, or grow an existing one, they conclude that the most important distinguishing characteristic compared to their competitor must be lower prices. The new Onepixel offering clearly illustrates this point. A group of people with experience in the industry put together a new site. Based on their experience they are well aware of the type images in greatest demand by customers. They have previously built relationships with many of the creators of such images. They have a good idea for offering a small highly curated collection of images that will make it much easier for customers to quickly find what they need.

Onepixel: New Microstock Agency

By Jim Pickerell | 609 Words | Posted 10/23/2018 | Comments
A few former Fotolia employees have joined forces to launch a new microstock site called Onepixel.com.  While at Fotolia these people were able to learn the type of pictures that customers are most interested in buying and build relationships with many of the photographers who have been most successful in producing such images.

Subscriptions Or Individual Licenses

By Jim Pickerell | 844 Words | Posted 10/10/2018 | Comments
Over the weekend on Stockphoto@yahoogroups.com Rick Boden said, “I was getting serious about (putting my images with) Adobe Stock Images and then I realized they sell images via subscription. I have a very bad feeling about getting into an arrangement like that based on experience where my present agency (that) has a tie in with Getty where I am getting many royalties of less than a dollar because of subscription sales.”

Offset Testing New Pricing For Enterprise Customers

By Jim Pickerell | 223 Words | Posted 10/9/2018 | Comments
Shutterstock has announced that they will be testing some new pricing and promotions for their Offset.com brand in the next few months. Initially, they will only offer these prices to their Enterprise customers (customers who purchase through their Premier Platform). Their posted rates on the website of $249 and $499 will not change. Sources tell us that their tend to be more at the lower price than the higher.

Can Getty Repair Its Relationships With Creators?

By Jim Pickerell | 1129 Words | Posted 10/4/2018 | Comments
Recently, in a discussion with a stock photo agent the subject came up as to what it would take for Getty Images to repair its relationships with the Creator Community. I raised the issue late last year in “Why Creators Are Dissatisfied With Getty.”

Knowing What To Shoot

By Jim Pickerell | 1466 Words | Posted 9/25/2018 | Comments
Stock agencies do a very poor job of advising photographers what to shoot. Most successful businesses try to keep the people producing their products well informed about what is selling and what isn’t. They don’t want their workers wasting time (and costing them money) producing products no one wants to buy.

Storyblocks Changes Marketplace Commission Structure

By Jim Pickerell | 496 Words | Posted 9/14/2018 | Comments
In an effort to drive more Marketplace sales Storyblocks has lowered its commission to 50%. When the company (then known as Videoblocks) launched its Marketplace offering in 2015 the company offered still images and video clips at dramatically, discounted prices compared to its competitors. However, they paid creators 100% of the money received from the licensing of their work. As a result creators ended up earning more for each image licensed than they would if the image was licensed by one of the other stock agencies that paid royalties that were a small percentage of the total license fee.

Two Pricing Tiers: Licensed And Non-licensed

By Jim Pickerell | 1056 Words | Posted 8/17/2018 | Comments
It is amazing to me that no agency has created a two-tier stock photo marketing system similar to iStock’s, but for Licensed and Unlicensed images rather than Exclusive and Non-Exclusive. iStock has priced their Signature image collection 3 times higher than its Essemtial, Non-Exclusive collection. And they pay contributors a higher royalty rate for images licensed from the Signature collection.

Getty: More Concentration On Exclusive RM

By Jim Pickerell | 1158 Words | Posted 7/31/2018 | Comments
Getty is contacting its RM photographers with non-exclusive or co-exclusive agreements and asking them to convert all their images in the Getty collection to exclusive so Getty will be the only organization that can license rights to use the images. This may be a particularly difficult decision for photographers with co-exclusive arrangements if they typically license a fair number of uses directly to clients annually. All those future sales will be lost.

What’s In Demand At Shutterstock

By Jim Pickerell | 1425 Words | Posted 7/16/2018 | Comments
I’ve examined the number of images in certain keyword categories at Getty and iStock. Today, I’ve done a count of the number of Shutterstock images with the same keywords as the other two agencies to see if it is possible to draw any comparisons. I'll take a look at the comparisons of collection size between Getty and Shutterstock. In addition there are some interesting things to be learned when comparing the number of photos with the number of illustrations on the Shutterstock site.

Disrupting Stock Photography

By Jim Pickerell | 821 Words | Posted 6/14/2018 | Comments
Tom Zimberoff has written a very long and detailed story on Distrupting Stock Photography which makes some strong points about how the industry got to where it is today. Toward the end of his report he outlines a new business model which he calls “Business Made Easy For Photographers.”

Competing With Amateurs

By Jim Pickerell | 1325 Words | Posted 6/6/2018 | Comments
In two recent stories Know Your Return-Per-Image and Stock Photo Production Costs I discussed two very important issues for anyone trying to earn a portion of their living from stock image production. The issues boil down to (1) clearly understanding the cost of producing your images and (2) the return you’re receiving from sales of those images. No business can survive if it spends more to produce its products than it earns from sales.

Know Your Return-Per-Image

By Jim Pickerell | 726 Words | Posted 5/31/2018 | Comments
I would like to encourage every stock photographer to begin to calculate, on an annual basis, their Return-Per-Image (RPI) for each agency they work with. This is particularly important for those photographers who hope to realize a profit for the time and expense they invest in producing stock images.

500px Marketplace Closing Down

By Jim Pickerell | 378 Words | Posted 5/31/2018 | Comments
Contributors to 500px Marketplace are finally learning what Visual China Group (VCG) has planned for them. VCG has just sent them a message outlining some “major enhancements” that are coming. “ “These changes will help maximize your potential earnings by positioning your content at the right price and with the right distribution. Starting July 1st, 2018, we’re offering our community an exclusive opportunity to work with our newest global distribution partner, Getty Images,” the message says. (emphasis mine)

Can Getty Raise Prices?

By Jim Pickerell | 996 Words | Posted 5/24/2018 | Comments
After years of Shutterstock taking market share from Getty, it seems that the two have achieved a state of relative parity with regard to gross revenue generated from the licensing of still images. Customers no longer seem to be leaving Getty because its prices are too high. In fact, Getty seems to be charging selected customers less per-image than what Shutterstock would charge them. Where AdobeStock fits in is unclear, but for the time being each seems to have a customer base that favors them. There does not seem to be a lot of movement of customers from one to the other.

What’s Selling?

By Jim Pickerell | 771 Words | Posted 5/21/2018 | Comments
What kind of images are generating the most revenue? Is it the amateur produce imagery that is quickly loading up most of the databases, or the more costly to produce model released people, lifestyle, and business imagery requiring complex and costly set ups and arrangement?

Do We Need Floor Prices?

By Jim Pickerell | 847 Words | Posted 5/15/2018 | Comments
A reader agreed with the lead in “Escalating Price Based On Demand” that few photographers understand what they should charge for their work, but he argued that there is “another possible consideration.” He said it is important to establish a “floor price” below which you won’t license a usage. He asked, “why won’t agencies allow creator to set a ‘floor price” for ‘special images?’ It can be painful to see $2.50 sales of extremely complicated to produce images. Creators should be able to mark certain "high value images" so they can't be used unless the buyer is willing to pay at least a minimum fee.”

Is $1.00 Per-Image, Per-Year Enough?

By Jim Pickerell | 1169 Words | Posted 5/14/2018 | Comments
Recently Alfonso Gutiérrez, CEO of AGE FotoStock told one of my readers that a "professional" stock photo collection in an agency should be returning to its contributors a minimum of $1.00 per-image per-year. The photographer noted that his returns from AGE were way below that number and he wondered whether many photographers are seeing that kind of return.

Escalating Price Based On Demand

By Jim Pickerell | 1441 Words | Posted 5/10/2018 | Comments
Possibly the biggest flaws in the Blockchain model is allowing photographers to establish one fixed price for their work. As I have pointed out before very few photographers have any understanding of what they should charge for their work. They may know what they would “like” to get if someone uses one of their images, but invariably that will be much higher than all but a very few customers will be willing to pay to use the image.

The Blockchain Fairy Tale

By Jim Pickerell | 1094 Words | Posted 5/2/2018 | Comments
Blockchains are being touted as offering great future economic benefit for stock photographers. Photographers will be able to set the price for their work. No waiting weeks of months to be paid the photographers share of the sale. Once the image is licensed virtually 100% of the revenue will be transferred immediately to the photographer’s account. “Technology” has removed the need for middlemen and their costs. Blockchains will keep such great records on every transaction that consumers will be unable to steal without getting caught. Any unauthorized used will be immediately identified and the infringer will be pursued. Is it all really that good? Check out this story.

Can Shutterstock Grow Revenue?

By Jim Pickerell | 1034 Words | Posted 5/1/2018 | Comments
Shutterstock ought to think about raising prices. Clearly the number of images download is flat and not likely to grow significantly in the future. Just look at the quarterly download numbers for 2016 and 2017. The overall market for stock photographer is not growing. For years Shutterstock got away with taking market share away from Getty. They though that because their downloads were growing that the market was growing. In reality they were just taking customers away from Getty.

Wemark Enters Stock Photography Marketplace

By Jim Pickerell | 738 Words | Posted 4/30/2018 | Comments
Wemark has announced on VentureBeat.com that it is looking to replace existing agencies in the stock photography marketplace with a blockchain strategy that supports direct transactions between creators and customers and gives photographers control over the price of their photos.

SmugMug Acquires Flickr

By Jim Pickerell | 942 Words | Posted 4/23/2018 | Comments
SmugMug, an independent, family-run company, has acquired Flickr from Verizon’s digital media subsidiary Oath. Flickr was founded in 2004 and sold to Yahoo in 2005. Yahoo, in turn, was acquired by Verizon in 2016 for $4.83 billion. Verizon combined Flickr with AOL to create a new subsidiary called Oath.

Getty Retiring Thinkstock

By Jim Pickerell | 808 Words | Posted 4/9/2018 | Comments
Getty Images has announced that it will be retiring Thinkstock.com in mid-2019 and taking steps to transition Thinkstock customers over to Getty Images and iStock. Getty says this move will make way for a newer and overall improved experience for Thinkstock customers on Getty Images and iStock.

Growing Revenue In The Future

By Jim Pickerell | 1121 Words | Posted 4/6/2018 | Comments
The major stock agencies seem to have reached a revenue plateau. It is time to consider a major change in marketing strategy. There is a strategy that should be relatively easy to implement which could result in higher, overall revenue from licensing the same number of images.