iStockphoto to Diversify Pricing, Promote Exclusivity in 2010

Posted on 12/15/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Getty Images-owned iStockphoto has announced the changes it plans to make in the coming year. The company’s long-term shift toward exclusive content continues with new products and pricing adjustments, which include major increases. iStock is also changing credit pricing and contributor canister levels, which drive the commission structure.

From a broader industry perspective, the most significant change is in the continued segmentation of the overall image collection into a series of tiered offerings with varying prices. The main collection remains the home of non-exclusive content that mirrors other microstock sites; iStock is even reducing the prices of the largest files in this collection to make the offering more competitive. Yet all other prices are going up, and so is the number of exclusive products.

Until now, non-exclusive and exclusive images (with the exception of the recently launched Vetta Collection) were sold for the same file size-dependent prices that ranged from $1 to $28. Starting with 2010, non-exclusive images will cap out at $25, while images within the new iStock Exclusive Collection will be sold for $2 to $30.

iStock also plans to launch Exclusive Plus, an offering that falls somewhere between Exclusive and Vetta in both content and price. Vetta’s current pricing, which will remain the same in 2010, is in the $20 to $70 range.

The company is also making adjustments to 2010 credit pricing. For example, a 12-pack of credits is going up to $18.25 from the current $18, and 1,500 credits will cost $1,550—$50 more than now. In view of iStock’s total transaction volume, even seemingly small changes—such as this increase, which is roughly a third of a percentage point—can have large revenue implications.

And some of the price increases are not small at all. The change in exclusive image pricing is quite significant: smallest sizes are up by 100% (from $1 to $2); medium-size files are up by close to 70% (from $6 to $10).

The additional revenue that will result from such price increases means an increase in earnings for both iStock and its exclusive contributors. However, iStock will also earn more in 2010 by changing how long it takes each contributor to move up the commission-percentage ladder.

Moving up a canister level will now require twice the amount of downloads. For example, silver, which previously stood for 2,500–9,999 total downloads, is going up to 5,000–19,999. The top level, black diamond, is going up from 200,000 to 400,000 downloads. iStock chief operating officer Kelly Thompson said: “Given our current rate of growth, the current canister levels aren’t sustainable. In order to maintain the current system, we will be increasing the canister levels. It’s something we’ve avoided for a long time, but it’s a step we have to take.”

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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