Statistics & Surveys
One-hundred thirty-seven photographers from 27 countries responded to our Stock Photo Revenue Trends
survey. Forty-seven percent of the respondents were from North America and 14% from the UK. The rest were spread rather evenly among other countries.
Recently, I was asked for my thoughts on stock photo industry revenue growth
between 1992 and 2016 with particular attention to the intermediate 8 year periods leading up to 2000 and 2008. I was also asked to make an estimate of the number of professional photographers in the world for the same years. I’ll deal with revenue growth first and the professional photographers later.
The last day to respond to the Stock Photo Revenue Trends
Survey that we launched last month will be September 17, 2016. For more information about the survey see here
. The good news, so far, is that 13% of the respondents earn over $80,000 a year from stock sales alone.
The basic operating structure of how most stock photo agencies acquire and market images has not changed in 15 to 25 years. Image creator produce and submit their work to an agency. The agency may reject some of it, but most will go into an online collection that customer can review. When a customer finds something she wants to use she pays a fee and the image creator receives a percentage. The agency’s job is to manage the material, make customers aware that the collection exists, license use of the image for whatever they can get and collect money.
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complete the recent Stock Photo Revenue Trends Survey
. Initial results show that two-thirds of the respondents have seen their annual revenue decline since 2010 with the most significant declines in the 2013 to 2015 period. However, 19% of respondents saw revenue growth of 20% or more between 2013 and 2015.
Recently, I decided to take a look at the number of images in the various Creative collections on Gettyimages.com
. The numbers are very revealing and in some ways surprising. Getty has 16,687,710 million images in its Creative collection, 10,341,296 of them or 62% are RF and the rest are RM. (Obviously, these numbers grow slightly every day.)
is conducting a worldwide, blind Stock Photo Revenue Trends
survey and is asking all photographers who earn money through licensing rights to some of their images to respond. Individuals can respond to the short, 8 question survey by going to this link
. A full report of the results will be available to each respondent.
has reported Q2 2016 revenue of $124.4 million up from $104.4 million compared to Q2 2015. The growth is due mainly to new customers and increased activity by enterprise clients.
Recently, I asked about 100 medium sized stock agents around the world a series of questions to try to get an understanding of the revenue generated from images supplied to them by other stock agencies as opposed to revenue from images the agent had collected directly from image creators.
Some iStock contributors continue to add significant numbers of images to their collections, despite the decline in the number of downloads
and we presume revenue, since average prices per-image downloaded have also declined.
has reported another year of impressive growth with gross sales of $7,928,745
million in 2015. That is up 126% from $3.5 million in 2014. The great news for image creators is that Stocksy paid out $4,323,735 in royalties
. That’s 55% of gross revenue collected. In addition, because the company is a Co-Op, they were able to pay out an additional $200,000 in dividends to members who sold images during the year.
Most photographers use two different figures to track revenue trends – revenue Per-Image-Licensed
and revenue Per-Image-In-Collection
. It’s easy for a photographer to figure his own per-image-licensed figure, but it is very difficult to determine how that might stack up with all photographers because the specifics of the number of images are usually not available even when you know (or have some idea of) the gross revenue collected during the period.
has reported Q1 2016 revenue of $116.7 million up $19.1 million compared to Q1 2015. The growth is due mainly to new customers and increased activity by enterprise clients. Royalties paid to contributors during the quarter were about 29% of total revenue, or approximately $33.8 million. Currently, there are over 100,000 contributors meaning that the average contributor earned $338 during the quarter.
How low can prices go? Is the volume of images used more important than earning money when an image is used? Must we accept whatever the customer is willing to pay, or is it possible, at some point to say NO? If there is such a point where is it? Most photographer will agree there is some point where the people representing our images should say NO, but there is big disagreement on where that point should be.
After reading my previous story
investors in stock photo companies as well as image buyers may ask, “Why should we care if professional photographers stop producing stock images?”
Another leading global market research company, Technavio
, headquartered in London, has taken a look at the global still image market
and concluded that it will exceed USD 4 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of over 7%.
Ever since Getty Images invented Premium Access (PA) licensing image creators have been upset that their images were being licensed to some users for ridiculously low prices. Often images licensed in this manner are ones that have been extremely costly to produce. For at least one contributor Rights Managed PA sales now represent 66% of total sales at an average price of $12.00 and over half the sales are for $4.35 or less.
eMarketer forecasts that the total worldwide ad spend in 2015 will be $569.65 billion. Global digital ad spend will jump 18% compared with 2014 and reach $170.17 billion, or 29.9% of the total advertising market.
According to Zenith Optimedia total worldwide ad spend was about $510 billion in 2014 and Internet advertising (incluiding mobile) was about $122.4 billion in 2014. By 2017 digital is expected to be almost one-third (32.3%) of all global advertising or about $188 million.
VisualSteam has announced the results of its annual survey of art buyers regarding the use of stock photography and video. Getty Images, iStock Photos, and Shutterstock take the top 3 spots (in that order) as the go-to resources for art buyers.
According to Bloomberg
(July 30th) Getty Images Inc.’s bonds and loans rallied as a report to creditors showed improving profit after several quarters of sinking earnings.
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.
Shutterstock has released a new infographic
on Design and Emotion in Stock Photography.
(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.