Getty Images has been focusing on growing its subscription business
. The theory is that subscriptions will make customers more dependent on the company for their future needs. Currently, subscriptions represent 37% to 38% of Getty’s Creative Revenue and about 50% of Editorial Revenue.
A professional stock photographer has pointed out to me that a long held tactic to price a premium brand of anything is that a higher price indicates higher quality. He argued this is why some photographers insist on selling their images as Rights Managed. They believe they are producing a higher quality product. They often go to a great deal of effort and expense to produce their images. As a result, they feel they are not only justified in charging more, but that it is the only way they can recover their production costs.
In the next few months I intend spend a lot of time examining the question, “Can the stock photo industry raise prices on at least some of the images it offers?
” The possible answers to that question are either YES, NO or MAYBE.
Can the stock photo industry survive if it is only a business of amateur suppliers? It is certainly on road to becoming that business. Gross sale rates have declined so much that most photographers who need revenue from the images they produce to support themselves and their business can no longer justify continued production. (Check out stories here
An editorial photographer in London pointed out to me today that he has to notify Shutterstock when his pictures are used in order to get paid. Evidently Shutterstock doesn’t know that it is standard practice of many publications in the UK not to notify the agency
when they use an image. Instead, they wait for the agency or the photographer to call them or send them an invoice.
A top 2017 priority for the major image distributors should be to reverse existing pricing trends and find a way to begin to increase usage fees to some extent. Usage fees have been steadily declining for a number of years. The industry must find a way to turn the corner.
Recently, I was asked my opinion of what Shutterstock
could do to grow revenue? The questioner had come to the conclusion that there will be very little growth in coming years in the number of stock photo customer or the quantity of still images or illustration that each will use. He also feels that iStock
and even Getty Images
have priced their products very competitively with Shutterstock making it difficult for Shutterstock to simply raise prices.
has launched a new, easy-to-use global photographer directory
with over 50,000 photographers from 11,000 searchable locations across 191 countries. Customers may search for a photographer in a specific city or town who specializes in one of 18 different categories of photography.
The Getty Creative collection has grown by 4% in 4 months and now stands at 17,376,859 images. At that rate the collection size will be about 19,462,082 images by the end of 2017. In August 38% of the collection was RM images. Today 36.8% of the images are RM. At this rate of decline less than one-third of the images will be RM by the end of 2017. A huge percentage of these RM images are supplied by image partner agencies
that only, or predominately, represent RM images
After my story last week on “High Level Thoughts On The Stock Industry
” John Fowler asked, “Have you found any encouraging information at all from any RM photographers? There must be some folks doing something that works for them.”
investors see the steadily rising number of images in the Shutterstock collection and the number of new content creators being added each quarter and come to the conclusion that there is no problem on the supply side of the stock photo business. But, having more and more product is not enough. It needs to be the right product that fulfills the customer’s needs. And the right images need to be easy for each unique customer to find.
Let’s see if we can sell a few images for less. Check out the offers from Deposit Photos, 500px, ImageSource and Dreamstime.
The buzz word in the world today is “Big Data” and how it is going to improve everything. But in the stock photo business are the major agencies are really examining the data they have collected? If they were I think they would be more worried about their future and doing a lot of things differently. I don’t see that happening.
The stock photography world is changing fast, and constantly throwing up new challenges. robertharding
has decided to take a pioneering approach to creating new and exciting ways of working that will enable a new generation of image buying clients to find and purchase the work of a new generation of photographers in the easiest way possible.
Justin Black operates Visionary Wild
a company that organizes workshops and photo tours for passionate photographers who have attended workshops and seminars with experienced photographers and are looking for new opportunities to move their work to the next level of quality, depth, purpose and meaning. Justin shared this story that occurred on a recent scouting trip to Svalbard
aboard an expedition cruise ship.
, the world's leading multicultural stock photography agency, has recently announced the launch of a new website with a focus on world-class curated royalty free imagery
and motion clips. The new Blendimages.com
offers an improved user interface, a simplified pricing model, large image previews, and is the only place to search the entire Blend Images collection.
investors often ask my opinion of stock photo industry’s future and the potential for Shutterstock’s growth. I tell them growth will slow significantly. Demand from customers willing to pay for the images they use will decline. Shutterstock has grabbed about all the customers they can from Getty so there is not much potential for growth there. Adobe will take a much bigger share of the market. Recently an investor asked me, “What would you do if you were Shutterstock?” Here’s what I told him.
Many RM photographers are opposed to Royalty Free because they believe that for a single low fee they would be giving away all future rights to use their images. That’s not quite true. Check out this story to see the real differences and understand how much you might really be giving away if you license your images as RF.
In response to changes in the industry and client requirements Africa Media Online
has introduced a new simplified pricing model. The South Africa based picture library has moved away from the complexities of narrowly defined RM usages and is now offering clients a simple procedure for establishing what an image costs.
After reading last week’s article on “Rights Simplified Pricing
” a reader asked if I could expand on why an alternative to Rights Managed pricing is needed. He said that seldom has he found that customers are unwilling to pay fotoQuote
RM rates that are based on how images are used. The following is my response.
To deal with increased customer demand for simpler, easier to understand pricing, and the general decline in the use of Rights Managed images industry wide, plainpicture
in Germany has introduced a new pricing model they call (RS) plainpicture Rights Simplified
One of the principal reasons for licensing images as Rights Managed rather then Royalty Free is to insure that the customer pays additional fees whenever they reuse an image. With RF, once purchased, the customer can use the image as many times as they want. But how often do such multiple uses occur?
One of the biggest problems with stock photography licensing today is that there is often no clear logic behind why a higher price should be charged for one image and not another. In this article we explore how the industry's marketing strategy might be improved to generate more revenue for creators and distributors, as well as making the image search process more user friendly for customers.
At the recent CEPIC conference one attendee asked, “Why do customers continue to buy RF images? Don’t they already have enough? If they get unlimited rights to everything they own, why don’t they just use the images they have already purchased and never need to buy another image again?”
Shutterstock has notificed its Offset contributors that it has decided to make Offset content available to its Enterprise clients (over 24,000 of them) at a price point between $50 and $100. The current Offset price for a 72dpi web use image is $250.