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Statistics & Surveys
In November I surveyed image creators who had signed up to attend the Microstock Expo in Berlin and asked them two question:
(1) What are your top four distributors and the percentage of revenue from each?
(2) Is your gross revenue greater in 2013 than it was in 2012?
If you’re looking for an overview of the state of the stock photo industry as of October 2013 the stories listed below are a good place to start. Regular readers of Selling-Stock will have seen all this information before. For them, there is nothing new here although some of the stories were published in the last two weeks. If you’re looking for data and analysis – both current and historical – these stories are worth examining.
There is increasing interest among debt investors as to what is happening at Getty and particularly in their Midstock division. I posted an analysis
last week, but already there is new information worth updating.
Graphic Design USA’s 27th annual Stock Visual Reader Survey
has revealed that 95% of creatives in the U.S. use stock visuals to some extent in their work. In 1986 only 34% of creatives used stock, but there has been a steady year-to-year rise in its use reaching 95% in 2010.
The latest edition of Alamy’s “Ask James” series of video chats where CEO James West responds to photographer questions is now live. West reports that the company licensed rights to about 360,000 images in 2012, up from under 200,000 in 2008.
Every photographer is aware that the average annual return-per-image has been steadily falling over the last few years. The numbers in this story based on the size of Getty's Premium image collection and the revenue it generates give an indication of just how much it has fallen.
Getty is telling debt investors (people who buy corporate bonds and corporate debt) that 70% of iStockphoto revenue is generated by exclusive images. They also say that total iStock revenue annually is around $300 million. iStock revenue declined 9% in Q2 2013 compared with Q2 2012. Thus, about $90 million of Getty’s revenue comes from non-exclusive images and $210 million from exclusive
Getty Images rising debt compared to earnings (EBITDA) is worrying debt investors. Moody’s is reviewing the company to determine if they need to lower their Rating of the company’s debt. Getty has $2.6 billion in outstanding debt including an approximate $1.9 billion term loan, $550 million of 7% notes due October 2020 and $150 million line of credit. Gross revenue for the year ending June 30, 2013 revenue was $897 million.
In June 2013 VisualSteam
conducted a survey of over 1,000 art buyers, designers, creative directors, photo editors, service managers (and more), from agencies, design firms, publishers and corporations in the U.S. to determine “What Buyers Want.” They received a statistically valid response. For detailed results see the 5 page pdf or a longer video presentation here
Shutterstock has reported a record 24.3 million downloads and $56.8 million in revenue in Q2 2013. Revenue per download grew 5% year-over-year to $2.33. This was driven by a continued shift toward on demand, direct sales and footage downloads, all of which carry a higher effective price-per-download. The Shutterstock collection has grown to more than 28 million images and over 1 million video clips.
Recently, in testimony on the importance of copyright before the House Intellectual Property Subcommittee John Lapham, Senior Vice President, General Counsel of Getty Images, provided some useful statistics
about Getty’s operation.
In the last 18 months I have been tracking the collection sizes of 421 of iStock’s
leading contributors. These creators have had combined total downloads of 49,141,000 out of an estimated 150 million for iStock since its founding. Thus, they are very representative of iStock’s total collection and sales.
Since early in 2009 I have been tracking downloads
of 192 of iStockphoto’s most productive contributors. All of them have more than 48,000 downloads and 130 of them have more than 100,000. There are others with high numbers of downloads that I have not tracked for as long a period, and I’m sure there are a few I have not identified. Nevertheless, I believe this group is very representative.
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.
The United Kingdom company Eposure
has posted preliminary results of its Photographer Day Rates survey
that was conducted online through its blog. Eposure is a company that “brings commercial photographers and businesses closer” and provides information and mentoring programs for photographers.
has released an infographic
that forecasts several design trends for the year ahead. In 2012 Shutterstock delivered 76 million image downloads giving them a wealth of data from which to draw conclusions.
In its annual study of the State of News Media the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that employment at U.S. newspapers in 2012 was down 30% from its peak in 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978.
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.
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.
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.
In January the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report on Media and Information that provides some interesting insights into the photography business. Median still photographer income in U.S. is $28,860. The median for TV and video camera operators is over $40,000 and almost $53,000 for Film and Video editors.
At the end of 2012 the 423 had a combined total of 1,601,662 images on the iStock site and had grown their collections by 216,191 images (about 13%) during the year. However, it is interesting how this uploading breaks down. The top 20 uploaded 74,399 images (34% of the total). See their upload totals here.
The number of downloads from iStockphoto may have declined by 46% in 2012 compared to 2011 and almost 56% since 2010. This story explains in detail how we arrived at this figure and provides specific trend information on 194 of iStock's leading contributors.
There is a continual drive in the stock photography world to produce more images. But more images don’t necessarily result in more revenue – particularly if prices are continually lowered in an effort to try to license those images.
I’ve been asked, “What’s the average price that stock images are being licensed for today?” Most RM and traditional RF image contributors would agree that on average fees have been steadily declining over the last few years. The question is how much. In the last few weeks I have gathered sales data from a few of Getty’s Image Partners and major individual contributors. While this survey is in no way scientific, I believe I can draw some reasonable conclusions about the degree of the decline.