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It’s time to take another look at PeopleImages.com
that Yuri Arcurs Productions launched 17 months ago. Yuri has long been the world’s most successful microstock photographer, and until June 2013 his work was represented on virtually all the world’s microstock distributors.
Getty Images has supplied selected investors with its third quarter revenue figures. Indications are that revenue continues to decline. For the year ending June 30, 2013 revenue was $897 million. For the 4 quarters ending September 30, 2013 indications are that the revenue is less than the $897 million, but we have been unable to determine exactly how much it has declined.
This story contains a list of the 99 Shutterstock contributors with the largest portfolios. All have more than 17,000 images on Shutterstock and the leading contributor, Africa Studio, has 346,683. Combined these 99 contributors have 4,433,257 or almost 14% of all the images on Shutterstock.There is a hot link to each contributor’s collection.
As happens every fall there is a whirlwind of photo conferences – PACA Annual Conference, Visual Connection and PhotoPlusExpo (all in New York), and this year Microstock Expo in Berlin. In light of everything I’ve seen and heard between October 20 and November 17, 2013 I’ve provided a few observations as to where I think the stock photo industry is headed.
Does exclusive representation make sense in today’s stock photography world, or is it better to place your images with multiple distributors? Here are a few things to consider.
has reported a record 25.4 million downloads and $56.8 million in revenue in Q3 2013. The Shutterstock collection has grown to more than 30 million still images and over 1.3 million video clips. Revenue per download grew 4% year-over-year to $2.35. The growth in revenue per download was driven primarily by a growing portion of revenue that is derived from video footage downloads.
Stock photography is changing rapidly. The most serious issues facing stock photographers are:
they have no idea who their potential customers are;
they don’t know what their customers are looking for in the way of images; and
they don’t understand how their customer’s businesses are changing.
Getty Images has been privately owned by Carlyle Group for a little over a year
, and before that by Hellman & Friedman for about 5 years. One of the results of going private is that much of the data that used to be shared about Getty’s operations is no longer available to the general public.
, a stock photography co-op that launched on March 28, 2013, is on track to become profitable by November. A photo collective and online market co-owned by more than 400 photographers, Stocksy has accomplished this feat while giving members a 50 percent royalty on each transaction and 90 percent of profits.
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.
In response to the new trends in Smartphone use, social media and mobile phone Fotolia is launching a new app and collection, uniquely designed for Smartphone photos. Created for iPhone 4 and up, Fotolia Instant
offers fresh, new “in-the-moment” images taken using the new app, which allows users to shoot and upload to Fotolia directly from their Smartphone.
Getty Images is finally declaring iStock a “Midstock” brand given how high they have pushed the prices of iStock’s exclusive imagery. I estimate that about 35% of the images on iStock are exclusive. Getty has told debt investors that 70% of iStock revenue is generated from exclusive images and that the gross revenue for the last 4 quarters was about $300 million. In Q2 2013 iStock revenue was down 9% compared to the revenue in Q2 2012.
Getty Images’ visual trends publication Curve
released their most comprehensive assessment of diversity in advertising to date. The Curve is designed to highlight the latest trends and research into the changing use of visual imagery that depicts social variety. It is also a resource for brands that are looking to create exclusive and progressive communications.
Getty Images has rebranded iStockphoto to just .iStock.
with of sub-head of by Getty Images. The new logo is white on black instead of the former red iStockphoto. The rest of the site looks pretty similar to what was offered before.
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
After the announcement of the Shutterstock/Facebook agreement
that makes images available FREE of charge to businesses that advertise on Facebook, I contacted Shutterstock for additional clarification.
Getty Images has made a number of strategic decisions in the past few years that have resulted in declines in both its “Creative” (RM and RF) and microstock lines of business. These decisions have also aided Shutterstock in its rise to a commanding position in the market with its subscription licensing model. I want to emphasize that when I talk about declines I am not referring to Getty’s other lines of business - Editorial, Footage, Other or B2B music – which as far as I can tell are still growing.
has made the OJO Images available on iStockphoto
. The images are now “exclusively” available on the Getty Images network of sites and select partners. The full collection boasts nearly 31,000 premium files, which will grow to nearly 45,000 by the end of October.
Many expect users of mobile phones with decent cameras with constant connectivity to the world to be the next disruptors of the stock photography business. Crowd sources photojournalism
is expected to cut into the business of the long-suffering professional news photographers. Here are some thoughts as to why crowd-sourced mobile photography may not be the boom angel investors are hoping for.
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.
Yuri Arcurs has written a long post
entitled “Microstock sees its first major setback in 6 years and here’s why
.” In it he explains (1) why he is pulling his images out of all microstock agencies except iStockphoto and his own Peopleimages.com, (2) why he decided to go exclusive with Getty, (3) why mobile, crowd sourced photography is “a serious threat to stock photography” and (4) why he has invested $1.4 million in Scoopshot. This article is a must read for everyone in the industry.
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.
has announced today that 1/2 of its imagery is now 1/2 of its former price
. Prices for non-exclusive images used to be: 1, 4, 7, 10, 12, 15, 18 credits based on file size. Now those prices have dropped to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 credits with the price for the largest file size being only 39% of what was formerly charged.
Over the weekend, Seeking Alpha (SA) published an article aimed at the investment community entitled, “Shutterstock Valuation Makes Me Shudder
.” The points made in this article are well worth considering, not only for investors, but for anyone interested in earning a living in the business of stock photography.
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.