Royalty Rates At iStock

Posted on 12/18/2019 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

It is getting harder and harder for image creators to get higher royalties on their images in iStock’s Signature collection. Royalties go up based on the total number of times images belonging to a particular creator are downloaded during the year.

Download targets for Exclusive contributors have been around since 2017. At the beginning of the year the contributor starts with the ending royalty rate of the previous year. On January 1st iStock starts counting downloads for the year. Essential image downloads are counted as one while Signature Plus downloads are counted as 2. Some, but not all, downloads of Signature images through also count as 2. Others, probably mostly Premium Access sales, only count as 1.

If at some point during the year, the contributor’s downloads exceeds the target number for the royalty he is already receiving then his royalty rate goes up the following month. For example, if he exceeds the number on June 5th, his royalty rate will increase on July 1st.

On the other hand, if the contributor starts the year at 35% and doesn’t reach the new target by the end of the year, his rate will drop to 30% on January 1st of the following year.

This chart shows how the targets for photos have risen over the last 3 years.

  25% 30% 35% 40% 45%
 Year Royalty Royalty Royalty Royalty Royalty
2017 Default 500 5,000 20,000 300,000
2018 Default 550 5,500 22,000 330,000
2019 Default 650 6,500 26,500 396,000
2020 Default 800 8,500 34,500 515,000

    They have different targets for Illustrations and Video that exhibit the same trends.
One might think this is an indication that iStock images are selling better than they have in the past, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that these sales are generating more revenue for the photographer, or for Getty Images.

The iStock pricing chart for U.S. licenses indicates that the prices for Signature images are 3 times higher than Essentials images. However, in some countries iStock has reduced the price of Signature images to the same as Essentials.

In addition, many of iStock’s Signature collection images are now being licensed as part of Premium Access deals where the price per usage can be even lower than the Essentials price on iStock.

Thus, it is possible to license a lot more usages while the total revenue generated during the year still declines. This is probably why Getty has determined that the number of downloads necessary to reach a higher royalty rate needed to be raised 20% in 2019 compared to 2018 and an additional 30% in 2020 compared to 2019.

They have discovered how to sell more images, just not how to make more money for the images they sell.

Will all photographers please work harder, spend more of their time and money and produce more images just so Getty can make the same amount of money – or maybe a little bit less – than it has in the past.

Copyright © 2019 Jim Pickerell. 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


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
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 complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff